Healthy, Homemade Gifts: Recipe Binder


By: , SparkPeople Blogger

When you're learning how to lead a healthy lifestyle, you often have to relearn how to do simple domestic tasks like shopping and cooking. Ease the process for someone else by compiling a recipe binder.

Cut out healthy dishes from magazines, write up your slimmed-down family recipes and print your favorite SparkRecipes. Put them in a three-ring binder and decorate the cover. This recipe book can easily be expanded to accommodate additional healthy recipes.

Recipe Binder
Materials needed:
Three-ring binder (I like the kind with a clear vinyl sheet over the cover.)
Hole punch
Dividers (optional)
Decorative cover

Decorate a cover for your recipe binder. Print or handwrite recipes and punch holes in each one. Place recipes in the binder. Divide recipes into sections if you'd like. This is a really simple but heart-warming gift!

Bonus: If you're including family recipes, write down memories associated with that recipe or the story of how it came to be a family favorite.

My mom clips recipes from magazines and prints them from the Internet, then puts them in a binder-style cookbook that my Grandma's ladies club made back in the early 90s. That one book is used more than any other cookbook in her house. How do you keep your recipes organized?

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  • 103
    I made a recipe binder for my daughter several years ago after she had called me several times, long distance, with a "How do you make ______?". She still uses it and has added variations of her own to some of the recipes. I also e-mail new ones to her to add to it. - 4/1/2014   12:20:03 PM
  • 102
    The accordion file is a great idea! I will put my recipes in page protectors and use the file to organize and include a slot for new and this week as someone suggested. Sounds like less work than the 3 ring binder - maybe I will actually get around to it! - 3/2/2013   8:27:42 AM
  • 101
    A few years ago I found myself perpetually trying a new, better way to organize my recipes. I tried binders, hand-written 3x5 cards, typed 3x5 cards, and all sorts of other things before i hit upon my current method: a huge accordion folder. I have a section for each course (sub-divided for desserts, as I love to bake). When ever I see a recipe i like or make something up i want to repeat, all I have to do is write it/print it/rip it out and put it in the appropriate section. It's SO easy. It may not be the most gorgeous thing (although I got a cute green folder/box from Staples that closes with a toggle), but it is super-efficient! - 12/19/2010   9:43:40 AM
  • 100
    I have a notbook I created like this a while back. I love it. I found that after a while, some of those wonderful recipes I made I had forgotten. So every once and a while I skim through and revisit them for dinner! - 6/9/2009   3:11:08 PM
  • 99
    I once made a Scrapbook for our retiring church cook that had handwritten recipes from members of the congregation. It also had "food quotes" from magazines. Everything was backed with decorative paper and I added stickers. She just loved it. It would be good to make a Spark Scrapbook Cookbook that had healthy tips and motivational quotes as well as recipes. I might just have to work on that....... - 6/9/2009   8:53:38 AM
  • 98
    I'm a recipe book fanatic as well as having collections on line in a number of particular idea was one we did for my neices bridal shower....her soon to be husband was in the navy and we expected her to need a little home comfort sometimes living a long ways away. Each invited guest was asked to send us recipes...preferably 3 per person...with the story of how the recipe came to be a family favorite....even the men got involved..the recipes and notes were put into computer to be printed and then put in binders....for the bride to be as well as each of the guests.... - 6/8/2009   4:32:07 PM
  • 97
    Well, don't I feel like a smarty-pants! I have already done this--My binder is decorated with healthy food clip-art, and is titled "Something New for Dinner." Whenever I see a healthy recipe that looks good (usually from Spark People!) I print it out and put it in the binder. I've got a lot of good ideas to choose from when I want "something new." I also keep some blank notebook paper in the binder too, so I can jot down what I need for the recipes I plan to try--then I tear that sheet out and take it to the grocery store with me. Then I usually end up treaking the recipes a bit, but once they become family favorites they end up in my special recipe box. I started this box when I got married 25 years ago. Some of the recipe cards are tattered and stained, but I absolutely treasure them. I used to buy clear plastic sleeves to protect them, but haven't been able to find them for several years now. - 4/25/2009   7:50:41 PM
  • 96
    What a neat idea! My mom had wrote recipes on recipe cards and made each recipe boxes for my sister and I and all of my sister-in-laws. It was a very special gift. But this would be neat to give my son and daughter and my nieces and nephews and include recipes with stories from all of our families. Thanks for a great idea! - 4/23/2009   5:56:44 PM
  • 95
    I was just thinking of this yesterday. I have this huge pile of recipes I print from here and other sites just layign around. I scrapbook so it won't be hard to find stickers, paper and want not it's finding time that's hard. I would put my recipes in sheet protectors first b/c you always have messy hands cooking! - 3/26/2009   1:40:22 PM
  • 94
    I use a 12 pocket colapsible file. I labeled the sections with categories like breakfast, veggies, chicken, etc. The front two sections are New (recipes that I want to try soon) and This week (recipes that I have planned into my Sparkpeople meal plan and shopped for that will be handy when I want to prepare them). This is working out really well. It also helps with my meal planning as I look through the categories. - 3/1/2009   11:55:12 AM
    I use google for organizing so much of my life. My email and calendars are on there, along with a blog I add to from time to time. I've also used their "Documents" option to create a recipe folder, which has all of my favorites. I can access this folder online from anywhere, so if i'm at work and want to stop at the grocery store on the way home, I just log on and pull up the recipe from my desk. Or I can email it to a friend if they ask, etc. Can't beat the convenience of the internet! - 2/21/2009   3:52:58 PM
    I have a recipe binder! I got it at the bookstore. In the front section it has a bunch of cooking tips like how to know when things are done, substitutions, info about spices, etc. And it has folders so I can split up my recipes into categories. Definitely worth it. :) - 2/3/2009   12:56:55 PM
  • 91
    Sounds like a good idea, I will make one for myself and a coworker this weekend - 12/17/2008   2:05:43 PM
  • JULCAT51
    I am slowly starting to do this project for myself and copies will be given to members of the family. I use plastic protector sheets so that food spatters do not get all over the pages. If the notebook can stand up and the font is 12 point, it is easier to follow than the small print you see in most cookbooks.
    Definitely make notes. I have a wonderful chocolate chip cookie recipe from my husband's mother that she got from a neighbor in 1948. That's history. - 12/14/2008   10:30:19 PM
    This is a great Idea. I have so many Recipies saved to my Computer and SP Cook books. I could do this with them. - 12/14/2008   3:19:26 AM
  • 88
    GREAT IDEA! I'm going to make one now! Thanks! - 12/13/2008   7:50:35 PM
    Thank you SEVENJ and CWAITES!! All of you are sooo organized (well... most of you) but I've got a gad-ZILLION recipe books and sooo many copied/saved, clipped from magazines, printed out... SHEESH, too many recipes for any one person's life time!! LOL!! I really LOVE this idea and hope to 'do' this for my daughters (5 grown- 1 is my daughter-in-law) PLUS 1 still at home for THIS coming New Year... think I'll make it a New Year's Resolution since there's only 11 days till Christmas!! Happy Holidays!! Annie - 12/13/2008   12:07:26 PM
  • 86
    this really is a great idea and i have given the gift of recipes before...pple love to get recipes and arent we all looking for something new to try??? - 12/11/2008   4:41:52 PM
  • 85
    I have Been using a 3 ring Binder for a while - love it!! I went to a office place and Bought a Box of page protectors. So now whenever I get my hands on a recipe I take it over and put it in the Binder right away. - 12/11/2008   11:58:03 AM
    Several years ago my brother-in-law made me two personalized binders complete with labled dividers and plastic sleeves so that I can put multiple small clipping on one page. It has been a absolute favorite gift. There are many sparks recipes saved there. - 12/11/2008   10:41:13 AM
  • 83
    I have my own cookbook binder I've compiled over the years. I keep mine organized by "type" of dish (aka main course, side, etc.). Recently, I also added a "healthy" section just for me. - 12/10/2008   10:17:47 PM
  • 82
    Great idea. Thanks for sharing. - 12/10/2008   5:14:43 PM
  • 81
    I add photos of the chef when adding pages to the family cook book - it is so fun to see my sisters shiny smile when I turn to her meatloaf recipe! - 12/10/2008   9:24:18 AM
    I have thought about doing this. I have even bought the binders or recipe boxes and cards to do this. I even got some of the family favorites. But I never get time to finish it. Then I had the stuff on my laptop and that got stolen. :( - 12/10/2008   7:13:32 AM
  • 79
    I hate to cook, to be honest. Lots of RAW fruits and veggies are so nice! But, I can't go 100% RAW. - 12/10/2008   1:55:03 AM
  • 78
    GREAT idea. My Mom put some recipes she thought of making into a binder and a few that she did make. Unfortunately, the ones we liked the most and she used the most never made it to paper. One thing that became a nice gift for all my brothers and my parents was a church cookbook that was on clearance. Everyone in the family had it so we could call each other for tips on certain recipes. - 12/10/2008   1:44:47 AM
  • CLAWW855
    What a great idea!! I think I'll make one for my sister!! - 12/10/2008   1:28:08 AM
  • 76
    As our children went off to college, I began book of basic recipees that we had enjoyed: pot roast, tacos, ham and potatoes, casserole surprise, refrigerator rolls, greenbeans with sunflower seeds, Toll House cookies, Kiss Me Cake, snickerdoodles and more. They were the ones I got the most calls about. Included also their childhood favorites. Now that they have establishsed their own households, they add their delicious creations and we all get a copy for the binders. German and Mexican dishes are now well represented. Other relatives contribute too. Really good food that many of us like! It's a mainstay is all of our kitchens :-)

    I keep the recipes generated on the computer so it's easy to print extra ones off as requested. A three hold punch makes it easier to file the copy paper. When we get together, it is prime time to pass out more recipes or sometimes they are mailed. - 12/9/2008   10:04:16 PM
  • 75
    I collect cookbooks, so most of my recipes come from those. But I also have 4 recipe boxes full of recipes I've gained from former co-workers over the years. Many I have adapted to make them more healthy. - 12/9/2008   8:54:48 PM
  • 74
    I keep my recipes on a computer software program, but this would be a great way to keep favorites - as well as a great gift! - 12/9/2008   8:44:24 PM
    Love the idea. I've been copying and putting them in my computer. But if something happens then some of them I would lose and don't want that. - 12/9/2008   3:38:59 PM
  • 72
    I've actually been thinking of starting a binder I think it would easier than what I use now, a sprial which I write recipes that I like and have a couple of printed ones there too. - 12/9/2008   1:47:49 PM
  • 71
    Nice gift idea. I keep my recipes in a recipe box (actually basket!) If I use a new recipe and like it, it goes on a card in the box! - 12/9/2008   1:39:00 PM
  • 70
    Sounds great. I print out alot of recipes and then they just lay around. Good gift idea for my 18 year old when she moves out on her own. - 12/9/2008   1:27:39 PM
  • 69
    I print out recipes from several websites and put them in cheap page protectors. I then put them in a series of binders because my collection has become very large. It works very well for me. - 12/9/2008   12:47:04 PM
    When my nephews got married I made up a cookbook for their wives of their great-grandmother's recipes. Since many of the recipes were old I explained what some of the measurements were. (like a pinch). I used MS Word and printed the recipes on 4x6 postcards and then put them in 4x6 picture album's with a picture of their great-grandmother on the front! Great size for young people in first apartments! Plus since the recipes go in the card slots the pages are wipeable when you have a spill! (I always have spills) By having it on MS Word I can print a new copy whenever I need one for a family member! - 12/9/2008   12:40:05 PM
  • 67
    Unfortunately I'm the only who would take the time to do this and who would want to receive it as a gift. Lol, but a good idea! Merry Christmas to me! - 12/9/2008   12:37:17 PM
  • 66
    I have done this for my oldest son, who no longer lives at home. I included all the recipes he's loved all his life (that are mom's own) plus many other tasty & healthy ones. I put a photo from our collection on each page, as well & the dividers were short stories from his life. On Christmas day, my 20+ year old son, sat, with the other kids around him, turning it page by page with tears in his eyes. Now all my kids want one!!! - 12/9/2008   12:30:48 PM
  • 65
    I LOVE THE IDEAS THANKS - 12/9/2008   12:24:55 PM
    Our Church Womens WMU is compiling a cookbook to help raise money for our building fund. It will be fun to add healthy recipes too! - 12/9/2008   11:56:34 AM
  • 63
    Our daughter put to-gether family favorites last summer and had them bound and gave as a wedding gift to new bride and groom and rest of family members as well. Really appreciated by all. Pat - 12/9/2008   11:41:44 AM
  • 62
    I too print them from my printer and bind them together.
    A few years back I made all of my girls recipe booklets for Christmas - they used them so much they asked for new ones this year.
    I attach a new cookie cutter and a towel set with a new mitt in a basket.
    Makes a very nice gift. - 12/9/2008   11:38:44 AM
    I use a photo album and stick my recipes in there separated by type. When I've tried a recipe and don't like it, I can pull it out and get more room for the ones we love! - 12/9/2008   11:04:55 AM
  • 60
    This is an awesome idea especially for me because I am a single young woman with a very hectic schedule. I want to learn how to incorporate all aspects in my life so that when I get a family of my own I will already have the know-hows. This recipe binder will be a great asset for now and in the future! - 12/9/2008   11:04:46 AM
  • 59
    I have a three ring binder and plastic sheets to protect my recipes; it's great. For Christmas I've started one for my Granddaughter. - 12/9/2008   10:53:33 AM
  • KATHYB2009
    This is a good idea! When I make them, I will be using sheet protectors so the pages will be easier to clean up and the recipes will stay in good condition. - 12/9/2008   10:34:45 AM
  • 57
    My husband retired this summer and is making 2 of the DIL's recipe boxes. I'm typing up recipes to put in them that were family ones handed down. Also adding some healthy ones from Sparkpeople. This will be their Christmas gift this year. - 12/9/2008   10:33:52 AM
  • 56
    Most of the time I just use the cookbook feature on, but this is such a nifty idea that I might just have to print my recipes out for my siblings and put them in a binder like this! - 12/9/2008   10:14:24 AM
  • 55
    I have been making books like this for years, I love the idea of passing down a bit of my own personal history to my kids and grand kids...keep the good ideas coming... - 12/9/2008   10:13:28 AM
  • 54
    I have a recipe box. I also keep recipes on the computer. For a long time I've been talking about putting them in a binder and keeping them somewhat organized. - 12/9/2008   9:52:09 AM

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