In praise of rabbit food and giant wooden bowls

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life119 Comments


What? You think because something is wrapped in Boston Lettuce leaves it couldn't possibly satisfy a man's appetite?


Just look at that free-range ground chicken breast, carefully seasoned with jalapeno pepper, basil and Thai fish sauce. Considered common street food in Thailand, this dish is called laab gai according to the special issue of Cook's Illustrated Light & Healthy from whence it came. They just call it Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps. Let's see what Dan calls following the initial bite.



I think the proof is in the pudding, people.

Here is the printable recipe that when trimmed, fits into a 6 x 6 page protector as part of my free recipe album book idea from a few years back.

Download Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps Recipe

One of the things I am currently working on is to design the end-all, be-all digital recipe binder template, one that will allow me to compile all of my recipes into one functional, comprehensive binder. See below for my request from you blog readers to help me make it even more awesome.

In other food related news, following a dinner at my friend Gwen's house, where our delicious pear and walnut spinach salad was served up with the coolest salad tongs I'd ever seen, not only did I have to make them mine, but I bought a gorgeous acacia wood bowl to go along with them.


I was so geeked out about this new bowl that my sweet teenager pointed out to me it wasn't normal for a person to get that excited about a bowl.

Okay, 1-4…how about now?


No? Blue cheese, carmelized pecans and dried cranberries not your thing? (Thanks, Trader Joe's Baby Spinach kit!) Good. All the more for me to eat.

In my giant bowl.

Here's to healthy food and giant bowls.


And speaking of recipes…

As I mentioned above, I am beginning work on a new template series for the ultimate recipe binder. The binder I'm planning will be 8.5 x 11. What I'm wondering is what sections, tabs and functions do you wish you had in a recipe binder? Please, don't be shy. Share your thoughts in the comments today.

Cathy ZielskeIn praise of rabbit food and giant wooden bowls

119 Comments on “In praise of rabbit food and giant wooden bowls”

  1. #1

    I run a 8.5 x 11 binder and put in recipes from cutting out or from downloading recipes. I normally have more than 1 to a page and write on the pages with notes. No recipe goes in unless it is a definite make again recipe.
    My tabs are beef, chicken, pork, seafood, pasta, veggies, casseroles, ethnic, soups and misc.

  2. #2

    Hi Cathy,

    I’ve made Asian wraps before and they are yummy. I have a Word document that contains my recipes (100s of them). I hope that you tabs are flexible enough so that users can change them and add more if they wish. I have the usual (soups, starters, chicken, meat, seafood, vegetables, breads, and desserts). I also have subsections (e.g. meat is further broken down into beef, lamb, pork, etc). i also have a section called “Tristan’s favorites”, which include recipes for meals that my super picky 11 year son likes. This is really useful when I am stuck on ideas on what to serve him besides tacos and pizza.

    What I really like about my Word document is the ability to provide a cross reference to another recipe. For example I will cross reference the turkey recipe to a stuffing recipe. I also index every recipe by key ingredient so that I can create an index at the back (handy for using leftovers). These features are probably too much for Photoshop to cope with.

    For each recipe, I have the name of the recipe, ingredients, method, number of servings, and the source of the recipe (I put in the name if someone gave me the recipe).

    It would be awesome to include a photo for some recipes, but I would be hard pressed to have a photo for all recipes. So a template with and without a photo would be useful.

    Let me know if you want any further ideas.


    PS – You are even more gorgeous than ever after losing 30 lbs. Way to go girl!

  3. #3
    judy in huntsville [al]

    Oh My Goodness – you’re turning into The Pioneer Woman – but in a good and healthy way!! THANK YOU! I could go with standard dividers here – but I know I can trust you to put your personal spin on it and come up with some fun and quirky names – again, thank you – J

  4. #4

    First, I’m thrilled that you test drove the Asian Chicken Wraps – I’ve been eyeing those in my copy of Cooks Illustrated Light. They’ll be up next in the cooking rotation. I can tell you the beef & broccoli is very good. So good, in fact, I’ve made it 3 times now.

    So, tabs: Main Dish, Soups, Casseroles, Sides/Vegetables, Baked Goods and Desserts. Not that I’ve visited that last one in 3 weeks (but who’s counting?).

    Congrats on your progress!

  5. #5

    Tabs: rabbit food (salads), 15 minutes or less, veggies, fruits, pasta, trifles (desserts), carnivore’s delight (meats)

  6. #6

    Lettuce wraps are wonderful. I hadn’t had them for ages but my daughter told me Cheesecake Factory had them and when I did I remembered how I loved them when I lived in Bangkok.

    I have binder(S) with recipes and my categories are Entrees, Chicken, Soup, Desserts, and MSC. I have a photo with each recipe if I can and I often condense the recipe with a smaller font or leave out some of the instructions (I know the difference between ingredients and prep etc etc )or some of the small talk to try to get in on one page.

    I also have these recipes in a file on my computer called iMac recipes.

    btw, I have also downsized to about9 linear feet of cookbooks. Can you tell I like to cook?

  7. #7

    One more note, when I have the recipe on the computer, I put the category first in the name, in caps, e.g. CHICKEN Thai Lettuce Wraps. That way if I forget to do one that way or am in a real hurry I can spot the ones that need correction quickly.

    If the category could be two ways, I just duplicate the file and change the Category name e.g. BREAD Philadelphia Sticky Buns and DESSERT Philadelphia Sticky Buns.

  8. #8

    I need these tabs: Mixes, Rubs and Sauces; Appetizers; Drinks; Breads; Salads; Soups; Casseroles; Poultry; Meat; Pasta; Cookies; Desserts and maybe an “Other.”

    Yes, I need a separate section for cookies. We are very much a cookie house. And as for the other, I can’t figure out where to put the Zucchini and Gruyere tart (which can be a main dish, appetizer or side dish). And what about the couscous with roasted veggies. That’s not a casserole and I don’t think of it as pasta even though it is. You’d be brilliant if you came up with a category that sounded more sexy than “other.”

  9. #10
    Caroline Stroh

    Do you still have the InDesign template for the 6 x 6 binder, and would you be willing to share?

  10. #11
    Wendy A

    Hi Cathy,

    I have to admit I am revamping my recipe binder this year. I am working on creating a seasonal binder so I have all the recipes for each season together. This way instead of having to page through each “normal” section found in my recipe book, I can go to Spring & find all the recipes I need for argula, spinach, rhubarb, asparagus, etc.

    I really want to start cooking with local, fresh ingredients & this recipe book will help me do so!

  11. #12

    This recipe sounds yummy, but I have never heard of scallions. What are they? A template for recipes sounds like a great idea, at the moment I have a drawer full of different size pieces of paper, very messy!

  12. #13

    My recipe binder needs only two tabs: Stuff my husband will eat (with Healthy and Unhealthy subtabs), and Cake.

  13. #14

    I don’t have any other suggestions but I am really looking forward to this. I have been thinking about making a recipe scrapbook for ages but never started it as I wasn’t sure about the format. Really can’t wait!!

  14. #15

    Good grief – those wraps and that salad look so delicious. Must make them right now! πŸ™‚

    I like my recipe books arranged soups, salads, appetizers, entrees by main ingredient, and desserts. If I were making my own I’d also love to make a tab for family hierloom recipes.

    I am wondering what Dan’s shirt says…

  15. #16

    oh by the way just thought I’d let you know I had to look up what scallions where!!!! On this side of the world (Sydney Australia) we call them shallots!! LOL

  16. #17

    Sections I’d like: Main Dish, Side Dish, Appetizer, Dessert

    I’d like a template (Word format would be nice so I could spell check) that I can type my recipes into.

    I’d also like an index for the back of the book, sorted into ABC order that I could handwrite my recipes into with their page number.

  17. #18
    Ronnie Crowley

    Holiday Food – would be one I’d add. Plus sin-full madness for the those once a year blow outs!

  18. #20

    I love the lettuce wrap recipe and I am so excited that you are taking on this project. My attempts at organizing my recipes have been a total flop. I am flexible about the tabs, though I love to bake so desserts, cookies, are a must. I like the suggestion of a handwritten index page.

    I’d be very happy with generic sections like appetizers, main dishes, side dishes, breads, desserts…maybe a section for holiday foods…maybe a special section for breakfast foods.

    Oh, I can’t wait!

    Thanks so much,

  19. #21

    Hi Cathy…I don’t usually leave comments, but this time I will. I’m a chef in Paris, France. I don’t know if that will make a better comment, but here is my experience: I have hundreds of cooking books, and always use the same ones: the ones that are sorted by product. Because I always think product. I go to the market and find beautiful strawberries, then I go to the strawberry section, and find so many good ideas…Or I’m looking for an idea to invite my friends, and think “hum, I know they love lamb…let’s sea what I have for lamb”. Regular books (starters, main dish, dessert), I rarely if ever open them, because I spend hours looking at everything, and get overwhelmed, or out of season, or “where the hell is my stawberry tart recipe in that huge desert section!”…Therefore I have 5 “recipes-from-everywhere” binders: meat, seafood, veggies, deserts, others. Each one of them is sorted alphabetically by product (beef, chicken, duck, foie gras, groose, lamb, turkey,veal…) (apple, blueberry, chocolate, coffee, lemon, nuts, prune…). So easy to use!

  20. #22

    Love the recipe book idea. And I am loving the recipe/food posts. After I have my baby this fall I will be back on the WW bandwagon with a vengence.

    As for categories, I generally use: appetizers, breads, breakfast, beef, chicken, pork, vegetarian (main dish), sides, desserts, crockpot section.

  21. #23

    One thing I have done with other recipes binders I’ve created is left a section for adding info about recipes in other cookbooks. So, for example, I have a great salad recipe in cookbook A, I reference the name of the salad, cookbook and page number in the salad section of my created binder.

    Of course, a spot on each recipe for notes about when/how it was made and received is also good.

    Categories I use are generally: apps and drinks; breads and breakfast; soups, salads, sides; main dishes and desserts

  22. #24

    Kathy – I too am on Weight watchers online. Can you tell me how much is each servicing? One or two lettuce leaves? Also how many servings does the recipe make? Thanks, this sounds wonderful.

  23. #25
    Jennifer K

    Hey, Cathy. Have you ever heard of Tastebook? Being the crafters that we are, I totally get making our own recipe book thing. But a couple years ago I stumbled upon Tastebook dot com and was hooked. I’m not quite the designer that you are and making my own book was going to be a lot of work so the Tastebook option was the way to go for me. That being said, I’d still love to see your template design. πŸ™‚

    The tabs I’d love to see in a recipe binder: main dishes, side dishes, soups & stews, breads, drinks and appetizers, sweet stuff, and other/misc.

  24. #26
    Julie W.

    I’m so glad to hear you’re working on a recipe binder! That is one of my goals – to get it all organized in a flexible way where I can add to and change as needed. I would vote for methods of cooking as possible tabs, too. Grilling, crock pot, wok, kids’ cook, etc. When my hubby offers to cook, I could flip it open to the grill section (his method of choice) and let him go!

  25. #27

    Have a stack a mile of recipes waiting to get uploaded! I would love a section for “family” recipes, and I aklways need a pocket or something for recipes to be tried. Can’t wait to see it!

  26. #28

    I always wish for a “beverages” section…I tend to print out recipes online and end up with a full 8.5×11 page to store and I hate to fold them up to fit in a smaller section. But I also love to keep smaller recipes (like scraps of paper, sticky notes or index cards)that I have gotten from other people, especially if they hand wrote it. I would love a variety of space sizes to fit those larger papers along with a standard index card size space.

    This would finally bring my whole life together and make a cohesive happy space for my out of control recipe collection πŸ™‚

  27. #29

    I haven’t read through all the comments, (I have much to do today) so I might be repeating, but: Aside from the usual tabs (breads, desserts, appetizers, etc), perhaps a section for all the recipes that get collected, but not yet tried, or not yet part of your regular line up. That way, you don’t have to flip through all the collected recipes that you are waiting to try, to get to the ones you use often. And when I say “you,” I mean “me”, because that is a problem I have. You may not.
    …Ok, now I read some comments. I like the one about dividing by food, so when you come home with bunches of strawberries, you can find a recipe containing said strawberries.

  28. #30

    After reading everyone’s suggestion I can’t really think of anything but maybe a BBQ section which I guess could also fall under Seasonal. Thanks for putting this together, can’t wait to see it.

  29. #31
    Monika Wright

    Is it possible to make the templates so versatile that I would be able to print directly into the template for some recipes and then on others, just print out the template and use my own handwriting? We all know how important it is to use our own handwriting for all those future generations to make fun of (well, treasure too).

    I think one tab with the word favorites or family faves would be awesome. We all have those recipes that we use more than others. This way we wouldn’t have to go searching for them under their respective tabs. They’s all be in one place.

    Also, would these be printed out and hole punched or printed and put into page protectors? Or both?

  30. #32

    My recipe binder has the common dividers: Soup, Side Dish, Chicken, Fish, Beef, Dessert etc. I also have breakfast, drinks and substitutes. The substitute area is things like how do you replace buttermilk in a recipe when you don’t have it. It also has substitute for allergy type things.

  31. #33

    I keep everything online these days. Probably not the best solution, but it works for me for now.

    I LOVE lettuce wraps. I’ll be making this one this week. Thanks for sharing that!

  32. #37

    I think the tabs you had before were sufficient – maybe have some blank ones to add our own tabs by printing off and writing on them or the ability to use a pdf to type onto the tab and print..

    BTW, you look FANTASTIC! Good job!

  33. #39

    We have a wooden bowl just like that. We bought it in Fiji on our honeymoon. Got to love those functional souvenirs! Alas, it is currently in storage in a whole other part of the world which is a bummer, because this post made me hungry for salad in a big wooden bowl. Thanks for that Cathy!

  34. #40

    How about Generational Fare, for recipes that have come down in a family? Like my Ninny’s peach cobbler and chicken and dumplings.
    Also, Holiday Favorites is a good one. Most families have recipes they typically only make on holidays. At our house it’s deviled eggs and stuffing.

  35. #41
    Mary Kay

    Wait, Christina, we have shallots, too, but they’re little pinkish things, in cloves Sort of like garlic, but onion-y in taste and texture. What do you call those?

  36. #42

    Tabs: Vegetables, Poultry, Pork, Beef, Pasta, Special [this could mean dietary or something holiday-related], Casserole, Soup, Salad, Rice [we’re a big rice family] – but what I’ve found *most* helpful is an index where all the ingredients are listed – because sometimes I’ll make a casserole dish with chicken, other times chicken & ham, sometimes just pasta & veges – and I’ll forget the blasted name of the original dish. As my son’s now cooking and is into sweets, he likes subdivisions for sweets – brownies, cookies, cupcakes. Someone once suggested Potluck, Party, Beverages, Snacks, and Homemade [for those jars of cookie mixes given out for the holidays].

  37. #44

    Must have photos…I will not even try to cook anything without a picture of it…I like to know what it is suppose to look like when I’m done. I’m in the process of making cookbooks for my family and hence the blog category “Yummy in my Tummy” and it will be extensive with how-to photos. But for me personally, I prefer a section on each page for 1. list of ingredients, 2. recipe directions, 3. special notes like cookware needed or adaptations and finally 4. a photo of the finished dish. I’m a member of Pioneer Woman’s “Tasty Kitchen” and I’ve only entered one recipe on line because…it’s so dang hard and long…like filling in a database in lieu of a cut and paste feature like this on-line publisher:
    As far as tabs…just prefer the general categories like: Beef, Poultry, Eggs, Fish, Pork, Vegetables, Appetizers, Potatoes (after all they are their own king in the vegie world), Desserts, Drinks, etc.

    on another note: Cathy just saw the Adagio Tea cup in my local grocery store…couldn’t believe it…cool beans πŸ˜€

  38. #45

    I would like the main dishes divided into categories. Chicken, fish, beef, pork, vegetarian (spelling?), etc.. I would also like side dishes. Deserts could be divided into cookies, cakes, pies, others. It would also be fabulous to make divider pages that we could fill in with our own words, making our own categories, personalizing it.

    You come up with great ideas. A digital recipe book is teriffic. If you spill on a page, just print it again.

  39. #46

    Can’t wait for this to be available! I love the size you are thinking about as it will have lots of room for extras.

    My wish-list would include:

    – Space for a photo
    – Nutrition information or at least Weight Watcher Points – maybe a cute circle with room for the point number and the text POINTS already on the template
    – A spot for quotes from family members to showcase why the recipe stays in the binder.

    For sections – I’d love to see a Christmas section or maybe just Holidays where you can store all those recipes you make “every” year.

    Thanks Cathy!


  40. #47

    Putting together a recipe binder has been on my back burner for a while now, so I’m thrilled to hear that you’ll have templates! I print a lot of recipes off the web (i.e. Pioneer Woman) and put them in page protectors. My tabs would be: beverages, appetizers, bread, salads, main courses, side dishes, desserts, candy (for the holidays). I could break it down further, but I don’t want a ton of tabs. Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

  41. #48

    Dan, what a man! You are one lucky lady! As for tabs, mine could basically be: good (salads), not so bad (pastas), totally evil (anything with chocolate). Right now, I organize my recipes by color: green, yellow, white, red…I’m a visual person and it helps me make a balanced meal. Weird, I know. If I am questionable about what category a recipes should fall under, all I have to do is ask my kids — they can shoot back an answer in an instant. But, I like looking for recipes by sourcing the main ingredient, would that be too many tabs to create?

  42. #49
    Johanna HΓΆrrmann

    Oh, this comes in handy! I am currently tackling my recipe mess and working on a template + binder for myself as well. Love all the section suggestions!

    I tried using MacGourmet for organizing + printing recipes but found that for me, it’s just one step too much. So I’ll go the simply-copy-and-paste-to-InDesign-template-route now instead.
    Something I will definitely include: A place for notes that have collected on the “original” recipe (where did the recipe come from / what makes it special / words of caution if esp. hot / better cold or warm? / whatever), ’cause this is where the personal flavor comes in πŸ™‚

    Now if only they sold these awesome russel+hazel binders in Germany …

  43. #50
    Mary Mitchell

    Oh an 8 1/2 x 11 template would be awesome. I have typing my recipes for my kids in that format for the past year. When I’m done I cold laminate them and then put the pages in a 3 ring binder. I’d love to see tabs that said…Meat, Salads, Veggies, Dessert, breakfast, holidays, pasta, appetizers, breads

  44. #51

    Oh, one other thing…could you include a tab for cool kid party snacks? Somewhere to put all those recipes about how to make a dinosaur out of cheese curls, and Mt. Everest out of rice krispies?

  45. #52
    Andrea M. Harris

    Thanks for posting the recipe for the asian chicken lettuce wraps–I love these and am so glad to know the WW points without entering the whole recipe into recipe builder. thanks again!!

  46. #53

    I love the recipes you are sharing. Thank you so much and please keep posting your finds and resources.

    In my recipe binder I have all the basic categories, but the very first section is labeled “favorites” because inevitably there is a batch of go-to recipes pulled from every category that ends up in this section. I also have an index at the beginning of each section where I make notes about recipes I really want to try, writing the website reference or page number and cookbook title.

  47. #54
    amanda gibson

    How yummy does that salad look?

    My new favorite salad topping is little apple squares. I’ve been using Gala apples and right now they are super crunchy and the perfect combination of sweet and tart. Combined with some nice (low-fat) raspberry vinagrette dressing, cucumbers and tuna (right out of the can) it’s my current go-to lunch!

    Anyway….the tabs. I prefer all the usual suspects (main course, appetizers, desserts, etc) but I think it would be cool to have a low-fat section for each as well.

  48. #55

    Yummy in my tummy!
    All I can say is don’t forget to dessert tab! I think it would also be nice to have a tab for “family” recipes…ones that have been passed on…you know.

  49. #56
    Jennifer W

    I would like the standard tabs, but I’d also like tabs by ethnic food–maybe Asian, Italian, Mexican, Indian, etc. Then if I’m in the mood for something, I can find it that way rather than digging through all the chicken recipes. πŸ™‚

    I can’t wait to try your recipe. I love lettuce wraps out, but I’ve never made them at home.

  50. #57

    Cathy, I am so looking forward to your recipte template. A few years ago I created a 3 ring binder to store my recipes. I have played with the template design over time and here is what I am using now: The divider tabs I have are: Appetizers, Soups, Side Dishes, Main Courses (subdivited into: Beef/Lamb/Pork, Meatless, Pasta, Poultry, and Seafood), and Desserts (subdivided into Breads/Scones, Cakes/Pies/Tarts, Cookies, Custards/Puddings). I use Word for the recipe tempate. Makes editing and spell check so much easier. I think I need an index but am not sure how to set it up. I find it difficult to remember in which section I have placed some recipes. Can’t wait to see what you have come up with!

  51. #59

    Loving your tales from the scales ~ inspired to keep going after seeing your latest photo.

    my cook book is loosely organised into:
    healthy and quick (no cooking)
    healthy cooked
    non alcoholic drinks
    cocktails and alcoholic drinks (punches etc)
    grill/roast meats and fish ~ plus marinades (big on BBQ)
    entertaining ~ when I want to impress and forget about the calories
    summer fun (picnic food, ice creams, salad dressings etc)
    soups galore
    Indian and Thai ~ including a quick guide for mixing my own seasonings
    Rice and Pasta
    baking and breads
    breakfasts and afternoon teas ~ I love making these
    party and table decor ideas
    a list of when foods are in season (and a note on when to plant my own salad, herbs and veg)
    weights, measure and tempurature conversion from imperial to metric and USA to UK
    a quick guide on how long things take in the microwave

    I use a recipe book from Paperchase which has divided page protectors to store recipes given by friends and family as I love the fact they are in their own handwriting. and a zip pocket for putting cuttings etc in.

  52. #61

    Oh Cathy… I just have to laugh that Dan is a willing subject for this blog. My husband would run far, far away. He’s a good man!! πŸ™‚

  53. #62
    Courtney Walsh

    I was just thinking about a digital recipe binder. I mean, digital pages that I would print. I really want to see what you come up with for this!

    My dad is really into woodworking and he’s started making bowls like this. He’s started small and is moving up, but in order to serve food in them you have to treat them with something special. Totally worth it, from the looks of it! πŸ™‚ Yum

  54. #63

    After reading through all the comments, my suggestion is to have blank tabs we can write on with a list of everyone’s suggestions! There are many good ones – and so varied depending on wants. This way each recipe book can be customized. Make the tabs so they can be added to digitally or hand written. Also someone might want something else first in the book that might not be in your template package. That’s what I’d like to have!! πŸ™‚ Thanks Cathy for this & for the recipe too!!

  55. #64

    i was about to write down almost everything you said, helen! i love hannahk suggestions too.

    only that i’d also like to have a “stickers sheet” with round labels, for “holidays”, “confort food”, “dad’s fave”, things like that…

    great idea, cathy!
    thanks =^ . ^=


  56. #65

    As soon as I read your post I knew I HAD to procure ingredients for the salad. I’m eating it this very minute and it is delicious, although I do not have the fancy bowl you have. Categories for a Recipe Binder? Sections for no brainer meals that are good and you don’t have to think about cooking but are so hungry you could eat the counter and meals/snacks the kids like or could make themselves instead of asking ME what THEY want to eat.

  57. #66
    Jennifer Lavender

    I wish more recipe books included full menu/meal ideas. Dividing it into side dishes and entrees and breads and such is all well and good, but I have a hard time pairing them up.

    So, if you created a page for favorite pairings where we could list dishes that went good together and where to find them in our cookbook that would be awesome.

    A template or two for planning a week’s worth of meals ahead of time would be handy too.

  58. #68

    Hi Cathy –

    I exhausted myself looking for the perfect recipe binder for years and so last year I decided to come up with my own. It is working famously well so far. The concept:

    – Two 8.5 x 11 AC D-ring binders, subdivided by tabs into about 20 sections. From memory, they are: beverages, breakfast, dough/bread, muffins/loaves, appetizers, soups, salads, pasta, vegetables, sides, poultry, beef, lamb, sauces/dressings/marinades, fish/seafood, pies/tarts, cookies, cakes, desserts
    – Each section has a variety of divided page protectors in different sizes: 8.5 x 11 (fits a full magazine page), 4 x 6 (fits recipe cards and photos)and baseball card (fits magazine cut-outs).
    – Each section has one 8.5 x 11 that is reserved for stashing “to try” recipes. Once tried, it either gets a permanent spot in that section or it gets tossed.
    – Each section also has one 8.5 x 11 that holds a spreadsheet cross-referencing the section relevant recipes from my cookbook collection (Recipe Name, Cookbook Title, Page #, Notes)
    – Each binder has a couple of pocket pages that hold things like the Canada Food Guide, Weight Watchers Points books etc… and my beloved sticky notes and page markers
    – I also maintain a third binder that organizes my take out menus (from Knock Knock)

    This may seem a bit overwhelming at first and it may be for someone that only has a few recipes. I admitedly hoard cookbooks and recipes but I do use them! This system really works well for me because everything has a home and so I can find things and return them (equally as important) in a snap.

    Good luck on your venture! As always, I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

  59. #69

    I can’t believe my good luck! I’ve been meaning to do this for the last year and I haven’t gotten around to it….and now you’re going to do it! Yea! I don’t have half the techie skills that you do, so I probably wouldn’t have ever gotten it done anyway. I can use the “typical” tabs, because I really don’t have a ton of recipes.
    Thanks so much!

  60. #70
    Jennifer Larson

    Well, since you asked:
    1. Vegetables
    2. Beef
    3. Pork
    4. Chicken
    5. Soups, salads, sandwiches
    6. Pasta
    7. Seafood
    8. Dessert
    9. Cookies (I’d like a separate category, but that’s me. I bake.)
    10. Breads
    11. Egg and cheese

  61. #72

    I’m so glad you’re doing a recipe template. This is what I’d like on each page

    room for a photo
    a brief paragraph about the dish
    special equipment (a certain baking dish size…etc)


  62. #73

    thank you for doing this for me! I have been putting it off and now I can wait till you do it for me!
    I would really like a tab for Holiday stuff. Maybe Holiday Main Dishes and Sides and Sweets. And also a tab for Cocktails πŸ™‚

  63. #74

    That is so funny…I modify all the online receipes to fit into my own 81/2 x 11 binder. BTW…I bought the binder from Target, and the front cover is clear and I can slip the receipe inside to follow, without getting it dirty…Love keeping receipes clean. To answer your questions.

    I like these sections

    **also a place for notes would be good. sometimes I modify a receipe, and it is nice to have a place for my notes. Or if I want to say Hubby likes etc…

    Have fun!

  64. #75

    You might be sorry you asked…I’m a bit obsessive when it comes to organizing. A few years ago I made my own recipe book using a 3-ring binder because I couldn’t find anything with everything I wanted in a recipe binder. I made my own sections using pocket dividers. I use the pockets to store recipes I want to try but haven’t yet. Once I make a recipe and it gets a “add it to the rotation” vote from my hubby I put the recipe in a page protector behind the pocket divider. I’m an ultimate organizer so I may have more sections than the “normal” person. πŸ˜‰

    Slow Cooker
    Holidays (for things I only make for holidays like a big fat turkey)

    I have a few other sections that help me. ‘Miscellaneous’ but nothing is behind that divider (that’s a good thing as it means I’ve been able to categorize everything) and a ‘Cooking Tips’ section where I put food storage guidelines, emergency substitution lists, food measurement conversion charts, etc. If the tip is specifically about one item (say tomatoes, I’ll put it in the front section of the vegetables section).

    Another section (well, it’s not really a section just two page protectors) for ‘Dinner Menus’ and a ‘Menu & Grocery Planner’. When I’m planning what to make for dinner for the week I look at my dinner menu where I’ve written the different main dishes we eat with a note where I can find the recipe and I jot it down on the menu & grocery planner document I created. This had made a world of difference when planning meals for the week. For example, the section ‘Chicken’ list includes: Saucy Italian chicken Thighs w/Spinach Pasta (Super Fast…pg 159) So I know I can find the recipe in the cookbook titled Super Fast Suppers on page 159. Sloppy Joe’s (binder, slow cooker) can be found in the binder in the slow cooker section. Pork and Apple Kebobs (binder) can be found in the binder.

    Since I like uniformity I type up all recipes. I copy a photo from the website I found the recipe or cut out the photo from the magazine article and adhere it to the page. I don’t hesitate to make notations on the recipes such as, “toast sesame seeds first”, add more cheese, chop fewer onions, etc. I’ve learned only to save the recipes that are true family favorites.

    Sorry you asked? Told you I was super organized! Would love to see what you design for a digital recipe binder!

  65. #76
    Jen D

    Omg- I just bought that magazine today based on your blog, and was planning to make those tonight. Good to know they were a hit! I love Cook’s Illustrated.
    I made a whole recipe binder like your 6×6 one- I have tabs for chicken, beef, seafood, salads, soups, cakes/dessert, cookies. Love it- thanks for the ideas!

  66. #77

    some of the dividers I’d use a lot are –
    people are coming for dinner!
    no time, hungary now
    winter warmers
    summer feeds
    please bring a plate
    reliable old faithfuls

    will you be doing an A4 version too?

  67. #80

    Loving the wooden bowl. I got one for a gift a while back but am too scared to use it because of the washing (or lack there of) involved. I want to dunk it in warm soapy water to clean it but apparently that’s not a good idea = )

    Recipe binder – I’ve settled on an A4 (I’m Aussie) display book. It has clear pages so I can slip in a page from the printer, either one that I’ve typed up myself or one I’ve printed from the net. The beauty about this particular display book is that the clear pages tear right out and then go back in the book where ever you want them. I have it roughly divided up into snack/picnic type food, main meals, sweet things/cakes.

  68. #81

    I think it’s worth telling you that my mother (when I was about 1-4) got hugely excited about new window cleaner. Right there in the store. And had to race home to try it out (it… cleaned the window.)
    20 years on, I have since forgiven her for embarrassing me- not too long ago I came racing up the aisle at the grocery store, elated to discover Teflon baking sheets (in my defense, stuff like that is harder to come by in the UK).
    Someday Aidan will have her own salad bowl moment.

  69. #82
    Sarah S

    I have similar salad hands and LOVE them..they work great for serving noodles as well – just like wooden hand extensions! I have a cool folder with my most favorite and most special recipes and some fun stickers and some photos of people who gave me said recipes for a “when I get time to put this album together it will be really cool” Thanks for my daily giggle!

  70. #83

    Jamio O eat your heart out! Am so going to make those lettuce cups now that I have also become a point counter as well, they can’t cost me too many points I’m thinking!!! As for the wooden bowl, quite frankly YES you should be that excited about it, it’s cool that Aidan will remember that forever….how excited you got over a bowl!!! My 7 yr old still tells the story about how excited I was when I got a front loader washing machine for the first time, her and I practically pulled up chairs to sit and watch the whole cycle (she wasn’t even 3 at the time!!) Thanks again for the laugh and the great ideas on the recipe album !!

  71. #84

    Just my two cents here–I like everyones comments but please leave a place for where we got the recipe–I think that is so awesome to share that it was Aunt Sue’s recipe or Grandma Marian’s…

  72. #85

    Cant wait to see what you come up with πŸ™‚ I am a recipe hoarder like you wouldn’t believe. I have made about 6 albums on shutterfly for this now.
    One Asian, one Italian, Heritage (family hand-me-downs) a copycat book (KFC McDonalds etc)and one for my toddler and her favourite recipes with photos. She is special needs, and this way she can see and tell me what she wants πŸ™‚
    So … sorry you asked?? lol)
    dividers my dream books has..

    Rubs, marinades, dressings
    Appetizers and Dips and salsas
    light meals
    meat – poultry
    meat – beef
    meat – pork
    casseroles and stews
    comfort food night favs
    home takeout (burger pizzas etc)
    heritage recipes
    holiday recipes
    preserves, canning, chutney, relishes and jams.
    candies and sweets and fudges
    hints and tips

    And I think that’s about it πŸ™‚

  73. #86

    i am so excited about this because i’ve been thinking about creating a binder of recipes in 8 1/2 x 11″. That’s the size I get from so many websites.

    I need tabs for meat, poultry, salads, jello, breakfast, bar cookies, desserts, seafood, beverages, vegetables, casseroles & sandwiches

    thank you!!

  74. #87

    Yup Archer. Thank you so much for the introduction. I am so glad I made the purchase because I find my self using the font all of the time!

  75. #88

    I can’t wait to see your design for the recipe album!

    As far as sections, I’d say it would be nice to keep it simple…

    Breakfast Foods
    Side Dishes
    Additions (as in dressings, rubs, sauces, etc.)
    Family Favorites
    Measurement Conversion Chart

    As far as the recipes themselves, it would be great to have a title, a spot for a photo, serving size, list of ingredients, and numbered directions.

    A CZ designed conversion chart would be lovely. :o)

    As far as the album cover template, perhaps a simple printable card ie Zielske Family Recipes sized to fit the window for the Kolo 8 1/2 x 11 and/or the AC 8 1/2 x 11. And yes, I know I’m pushing it with this last one. But, I just had to throw it in there. :o)

  76. #89

    I cannot wait to see this (and purchase)! Everyones ideas are great. And if it’s a Kathy Kreation – it’s gonna be uber cool!

  77. #91

    I love that you are going to do a recipe binder. I have two that are undecorated ugly vinyl gray office supply store binders and they are starting to fall apart. I would love to make a new set that are pretty. I use plastic 8.5×11 sleeve to slip my recipes into so when I pull them out to use and get them messy I can just wipe them off without messing up the paper copy inside. I have no categories and I also only put recipes in there that I have tried and the family likes so I plan to use it again. It is the set of recipes I hope my children want copies of because they were so a part of their childhood. It was born from the frustration of wanting to make food I had as a kid and my mom gave me the pinch of that, dab of this recipe that never turns out like mom makes. My recipes are written and specific and can be made by anyone who can read.

  78. #92

    Btw I am a measly three pound down on WW, but it is still 3 lbs. off that is not coming back. I weigh in on Thursday and look forward to a lower number again if my home scale is telling me truthfully the number I am. Keep up the good work and great job exercising!! It does become addictive after a while. I am starting to look for a heart rate monitor. Does your iPod do this? Do you have any recommendations? I want to make sure I am getting the best out of my activity.

  79. #93
    Sherrie M.

    You should change your name to Cutting Edge…that’s what you are with this recipe book idea! Just what I’m looking for! Awesome. I would like photo/no photo options, multiple recipes on a page option too. Typical things in a recipe list but maybe add From so we can keep track of where/who we got it from. My categories are Apps, Drinks, Meat, Seafood, Crock Pot, Veggies, Pasta, Salad, and Kids. Thanks!

  80. #94

    If you can get excited about your new bowl (which is fabulous), I can get excited about you doing an 81/2×11 recipe binder. I so need to get my recipes organized and that would be the ticket. How about those WW recipes with the point values included?

  81. #95

    Sometimes I need a section just for parties (like rotelle dip or little poppers) and sometimes I need a ‘holiday’ section, for those candied yams we only have twice a year. This is a super cool project – maybe you will get me organized??

  82. #96
    Margy Eastman

    This would be so great! My recipes are in a binder with no tabs – just the pages I printed off the computer. I’m by no means and experienced cook, and I’m always pressed for time. Tabs that focus on ingredients – at least the meats – would be helpful.

    Maybe putting together a better recipe system would get me out of the 6-recipe-rotation/rut I’m in!

  83. #97

    sometimes i wish i had tabs like “pasta” “stirfry” “sandwiches” “vegetarian” more along the lines of categories of types of foods!

  84. #98
    Pam K

    For tabs: Breakfast, Appetizers, Desserts, Chicken, Beef, Healthy Fare (or Weight Watchers), Drinks, Pasta. Thanks!

  85. #99
    Pam K

    Just remembered. Tabs for ethnic foods would be good too: Mexican & Asian or just Ethnic tab I guess.

  86. #100

    I have had this on my project list for over a year. I would love to be able to do part of it digitally but I need a place for a final picture. I’m all about the visuals πŸ˜‰

  87. #101

    Just remembered – I have a very useful section for holiday foods and gifts – you know, those things you only need for about a month and a half each year. I keep recipes like hot cocoa mix, spiced tea, jar mix gifts, food gifts, and special holiday snacks and meals behind this one tab, so I know where to go each October as we start to prepare for the holidays. It also gives me place to throw those ideas as I see them in magazines or on websites.

  88. #102
    cindy b.

    Just wanted to say THANKS for this recipe. I love all things chicken and can’t wait to try this one!!

  89. #103
    Marg Van Patten

    8.5×11…PERFECT! Looking forward to that.
    Some of my favorite tabs in my cookbooks include:

    Crock-Pot Creations
    Crowd Pleasers (potluck recipes)
    As Seen on TV
    Girls Night Goodness (great brandy-slush recipe here)

    I have and use the traditional tabs as well but I will often remember how or where I acquired the recipe and it’s just plain fun to have some specialized categories!
    Maybe I should add “CZ Blogipes” to the list!
    Thanks for another great recipe!

  90. #104

    A section for holiday fare would be great – I like to keep dishes that are becoming “traditions” for my family in one section.

  91. #105

    I’ve found that the best dividers for me are ‘vegetarian’, ‘poultry’, ‘sausage’, etc. That way when I’m looking to the week ahead, I plan around what meat might already be in the house and what’s a good price. I’ve tried to subdivide my vegetarian section, since it’s my largest by far (main ingredient or ethnic variety), but I haven’t found anything that works yet. I also have an appetizers/sides section and 4 or 5 different dessert sections (to help make up for all those healthy vegetarian meals!).

  92. #106

    As far as tabs go. I would be tempted to add number tabs (say 1-20) so I could sub-categorize my recipes according to “points”. I would love the use of the actual word points but I think it is copyrighted by WW and do not want you in any trouble.

    I also love a section of how measurements (wet and dry) breakdown. How many tablespoons in a 1/4 of a cup is the one I never can remember.
    How about a substitution fill in template?

    Ps I would love to know how you make your black bean salsa. Pretty please? With one point of sugar on top?

  93. #107

    I have her tabs, and bread/muffin, cookies, cakes, dessert(other than cake/cookies), drinks, salads/dressings, grill/BBQ, breakfasts…

    I like how clean yours are, and would like the option of adding a picture, and a notes section at the bottom where i can scrawl in adjustments… also mabye a rating spot – I can colour in stars? that might be too geeky, but I do rate recipes…

    would also like option of having more than one on a page – if i have a couple really quick easy things to remember – like seasoning mixes – I only need to remember the ratio of ingredients, and I have them in my binder, but silly to use up a whole page for that…

    anyway, sounds awesome and will definitely be buying this when you release it.


  94. #109

    Cathy, I can hardly wait! I started yet another binder recently, but haven’t done much yet so I am anxious to see YOUR design. I cook a LOT, have a huge collection of cookbooks, but decided to go through my recipe boxes & books & cull the “best.” This means those I have tried & we’ve liked. I may have one section of “to try” that just sound good (pages torn from magazines, etc).

    Therefore, my wants & needs as far as categories & tabs are pretty extensive–& became more so looking at the comments. I haven’t yet gotten through them all. Forgive the length of this post! Here we go:

    Entrees (Beef, Casseroles, Pork, Poultry, Seafood, Wild game, quiche, Pasta and Rice, Pizza)
    Salads and dressings
    Soups, stews
    Baked goods (Breads, rolls, Cakes, Candy, Cookies, bars, frozen, pies, cobblers, crisps)
    Special and holidays: Brunch, Appetizers, H’ors d’ouvres, punch, alcoholic drinks
    Special Miscellaneous
    Family favorites
    Food preservation

    I know! Whew! I’d also like provision to include Photos, Notes, No. of servings, calories & nutrition info

    I currently have a very simple template, 4×6″ card size, in Photoshop. This works fine but just for a recipe, none of the additional stuff.

    I also like the chef’s idea of organizing by product–perhaps an index.

    Again, sorry for length of post. THANKS a billion, Cathy.

  95. #110
    Karen (makabe)

    I can’t wait to use this template series! The only other tab I always wish I had is one for family recipes. I know they can go into other cateorgies, but I always keep them in their own tab in my recipes notebook…

  96. #111
    Julie in Edmonds

    Here’s how I do mine: Breakfast, Casseroles/Pasta, Bread, Vegies/Salads, Soups/Stews, Poultry, Beef/Pork/Lamb, Fish/Seafood, Dessert, Beverages, Snacks, Anything Else.

  97. #112
    Lynn M

    I think everyone has covered just about every category so I can’t add anything. But I LOVE this idea. I try to go through the recipes I clip out of magazines every six months and purge the ones that we don’t make. Otherwise my binders get too overwhelming. Can’t wait to see what you come up with.

  98. #113

    I have had a couple of digital recipe books on the go, but my tabs would unfortunately end up being something along the lines of ‘warning contains chocolate’,’warning contains lots of chocolate’, ‘warning this is more chocolatey than chocolate baby’…

    yep seriously… but anyway subheadings for those of us with sweet teeth (my sweet teeth are kind of the size of beavers)…

    and a holiday section is a great suggestion that someone has already made. I’m a sucker for themed food. This year we made reindeer cupcakes for christmas. They were chocolate. And I made an Easter cake from Nigella Lawson a couple of weeks back – a chocolate torte. Yep see it’s transmogrified into a chocolate tab again …

  99. #114
    Becky Swisher

    Be still my heart. I am so thrilled that I can cross this off my bucket list! (yes, a CZ designed digital recipe template book is on my list) Categories for my dream tabs include: Starters (appetizers and dips)Mornings(Breakfast/Brunch) Comfort (soups,stews and quick breads & casseroles) Good for you (salads and fruits) Main (Entrees & Sandwiches) Indulge(Desserts, Cakes, & Cookies)
    Can’t Wait! πŸ™‚

  100. #115
    Cathy Weber

    I’d love a tab with “Everyday Staples” for recipes using things most people have in their pantry. Also one for “Three Ingredients” “Four Ingredients”, etc. Maybe something for “20 minute recipes”, “45 minute recipes” etc. It must be pretty obvious what kind of cook I am. Not one that puts too much effort into her everyday meals!

  101. #116
    Kay Gregory-Clark

    Cathy, I’m not seeing my comments from the other day, but no big deal. Now I’m so anxious to do this I can’t stand it! I know you just posted about it, but any ETA? I’m dancing around like a kid waiting for Christmas!

  102. #117
    Kay Gregory-Clark

    ooops….meant to add: I recently found some pocket pages (divided), 2-up, that you put 5×7″ recipe cards into. I find these handy. My ideal binder would be 8.5x!!” with full-size page inserts; the 5x7s and 4x6s because I already have a lot of typed 4×6″ cards.

  103. #118
    Jane Simmons

    Took a salad just like that to a dinner a few weeks ago–except I added fresh strawberries. Yummm–didn’t bring any home. I’d like a digital recipe book where, in addition to recipes I pull off the Internet, I could add in the recipes I tear out of magazines or from product packaging– maybe scan them in? I’ll pretty much take whatever divider tabs you come up with –why don’t you make them tweakable, so we can alter them if we’d like or add more? Looking forward to what you come up with. Still add to my “MMM” book from time to time.

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