{Mission} Top 20 recipes

Late last year I went through my recipe flipfiles which, by the way, have greatly reduced over the years.

You can have the most organised recipes but if you’re not using them, they’re clutter.


I was even more brutal than I normally am (must be able to cook within 30 minutes) and tossed out LOTS that I am even more certain I’ll never make due to vast amounts of fat or sugar, or ingredients I’m probably not going to get, just for a recipe.

Some of my “rules”:

  1. I won’t cook anything that calls for more than a cup of sugar. If the measurement is close (1 and a third, or 1 and a half), I’ll just do 1.
  2. I never cook anything with more than half a cup of butter.
  3. quick for weeknight suppers

I now have a nicely organised flipfile of our family’s current favourite 20 or so recipes. Some of them are even in my virtual recipe book. Some of the recipes have had to be tossed because there’s really no point in making things the kids don’t eat. I have fantastic eaters so if someone really doesn’t enjoy fruit in their food, it’s not a big deal (pineapple chicken, apricot chicken, etc.) :)

Of course, all that organising triggered some forgotten memories so I checked the pantry and freezer, and then added some things to the shopping list (one meal every week because I’m actually trying to keep to the grocery budget) and so we’ve had some nice “new” meals too.

Do you keep a recipe file or do you know your family’s favourites so well you never need a reminder?

This weekend, I’d like to challenge you to go through your recipes and try and toss the ones you know you’re never going to make.

Bonus points if you go through your Pinterest recipes too :)

{Mission} Try 25 new recipes

Last year I set myself a goal to actually try 25 new recipes from Pinterest and old-fashioned clippings from magazines, instead of just pinning them.

The project was a huge success.

I tried 32 new recipes. There may be a couple more that I forgot to write down.

I think the reason this project was so successful is that I gave it a specific number goal so I couldn’t flake out, I had to be more or less consistent. I definitely did at least one every month, most months two, and some months I tried as many as five recipes.

Of those 32, 14 were so fantastic we added them to our usual rotation…. and I’ve made a new Pinterest board, “my virtual recipe book“.

My virtual recipe book - Mozilla Firefox 20140116 104825 PM.bmp

The best thing of course was that we added new tastes and flavours to our meals we might never have tried had I not had this project as a goal.

It is a bit of a mission (!) but it’s worth it…. and FUN (if you like cooking and/ or baking).

Have you done a project like this before?

Next project for me is to focus on something different every month – I just had a squiz through my baking board and I have a clear number of categories – lemon, cinnamon, apple, breads….. :)

But before I do that, I want to go through that board and declutter the ones I definitely won’t ever be making.

Pinterest has always mainly been for me a place to organise the many wonderful posts I come across so that I can take action; it’s never been just inspiration..

Now for one of the easiest “recipes” that will delight your children.


these are the ones we have at home. Oh by the way, the twins were whispering secrets to one another that I was not allowed to hear :)

Yoghurt pops (ice lollies)

I buy a tub of yoghurt, something with “interest”, like any berry/ caramel/ apricot, that sort of thing. For some reason, the kids don’t really enjoy the plain and the vanilla yoghurt pops that much ;)

Pour the yoghurt as is into ice lolly containers and freeze. If you don’t have any containers (I’m on holiday at the moment and don’t have anything) use either little bowls or the 100 ml yoghurts as is, but I stick a spoon in the yoghurt before freezing.

Within a few hours, you have yoghurt pops. For the ones with spoons, I remove from the freezer at the start of lunch and let them defrost just a bit while the kids have their lunch. After 10 minutes or so, they’re the perfect consistency as normal frozen yoghurt.

100% better for your kids than ice-cream but serves the same purpose.


Your favourite mug recipes please?


I found this recipe for a cinnamon roll cake in a mug on Pinterest.

This is usually the place where I would insert the Pinterest pic but I wasn’t able to do it in my usual manner.

You see, clearly I haven’t embedded a pinned pic for awhile. I’m using the same embedded code as before but the pics are not appearing as they should. Anyone know why?


Nevertheless, I had to cook it for about 30 seconds more than the recipe called for before the toothpick came out clean.

It was just lovely but not as delicious as I’d expected :)

I love all the cakes in a mug because it’s the right amount for just two people especially in winter when I crave some baked goodness.

Do you have a favourite, tried and tested cake in a mug recipe for me to try?

PS it’s time for me to declutter my recipes again. A friend recently returned one of my recipe flipfiles….. after nearly three years… and I hadn’t even realised it was gone :)

Feature Friday – menu planning

Feature Friday is an occasional highlight of something that works in my home/ life.

I love menu planning.

It saves me such a lot of time and helps us all to eat healthier and shop better for groceries.

Here is my favourite little magnetic menu planning board (South Africans, I got it for R30 at Mega Mica about 3 years ago and it’s not actually intended for menu planning – I think it’s for kids’ homework).

I start off by cleaning the whole thing.

I then check my freezer and see if there’s anything I want to use up or if there are freezer meals that need eating.

Add those to the board.

Then I make sure we don’t eat any one carb two nights in a row (I like to switch things every night).

I only plan for Mon – Fri and on Saturdays and Sundays we fly by the seat of our pants.

Not really, I just felt like saying that.

We usually use up any leftovers or I’ll do the quickest thing which is a pasta.

Notice our meals are on top and the babies’ meals are on the bottom of the squares.

The babies eat what we had for supper the previous night since they eat at 5 pm and I’m not even home from work then. Except when we have spicy meals like curries.

And that’s it.

Easy-peasy menu planning.


I don’t consult a lot of recipe books except when I’m uninspired which is fairly rare because I do love food.

I have set myself a little goal this year though; I’m to try two new meals every month. Of course, all these new things are always cooked on the weekends which is the only time I have more than 30 minutes to spend in the kitchen.

Do you menu plan?

Do you cook the same things or do you like trying new recipes?

P.S. Are you joining me for Spring into Organising?

How do you organise your recipes?

Colleen from Florida wrote…

I love the idea of menu planning but have no organization for recipes.

How do you organize your recipes?

I have them electronically, paper, and websites.

Thank you!

my recipe box

Colleen, I love this question.

I used to be one of those people who drooled at reading recipes. I’d have every intention of cooking or baking the delicious _________ and then life would happen.

I wrote a post on organising my recipes about 18 months ago – not much has changed but here is the summary :)

  1. I’ve learned to be brutally honest with myself and only print recipes I know I will actually cook. That one step will save you tons of cooking angst and lots of paper :)
  2. Once the recipe passes the taste and easy-to-make test (I don’t believe in doing any dish that takes longer than 30 minutes to prepare) and I know I’ll do it again, I put it in one of my recipe flipfiles. I currently have one for main courses, desserts, muffins (hey, I love baking muffins). Here’s what I do with small recipes when I don’t want to waste a whole page for just one.
  3. I also have a flipfile for new recipes I want to try.
  4. We have a list of about 24 meals that we both like (things like cauliflower I have to eat elsewhere :)) and I do my weekly menu plan based on these meals.
  5. Only when I feel bored cooking the same things, then do I go looking through that flipfile to try out my new recipes. Of course, some are so compelling you just have to cook them straight away :)

So in summary, I’d say

  • be realistic about your time and money constraints (we all know some recipes where you’d have to go SEARCHING in exotic places for the ingredients; those are not my types of recipes!)
  • categorise well (according to how YOU think and live)
  • declutter regularly

What are your best recipe-organising tips?

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Organising your recipes

I love reading cooking and baking blogs and imagining eating all the delicious, mouth-watering food.

Anybody else?

Well, if you have good intentions as I do, those recipes and recipe books pile up very quickly and start to overwhelm you.

So I thought I’d share what works for me.

1. I only buy cookbooks that feature my specialties.
I don’t cook meat dishes very well; I don’t know why, I just don’t. I also don’t do cakes – that’s a personal preference because I’m too lazy impatient for mixing this, and mixing that.
I love cooking stir-fries, pasta dishes and muffins, though, so that’s where I focus my energies.

2. I learned to let go of my good intentions.
I am now coming to terms with reality and realize that I am never going to make a triple-layer chocolate cake even for my husband’s birthday. I also deleted all the free recipe books from my hard drive that I now know I’m never going to use, like 101 recipes using coffee.

3. I have a Word document called Blog recipes to try.
When I’m browsing blogs and see a recipe that is (a) easy, (b) looks yummy and (c) that I am likely to try, I copy and paste it into this document. Then when I’m doing my menu planning or I feel like trying out new recipes on the weekend, I quickly print it.
This cuts down on the paper clutter!!!

4. I have a limited space in my kitchen for non-kitchen stuff.
Between the cupboard and my microwave (see picture), that’s all the space I allow for recipe books, appliance manuals and my Household Organising File with blank menu plans, shopping lists, travel lists and so on..

The basket is also easy to carry to the TV when I need to declutter it every couple of months.

How do you keep on top of the recipe & recipe book clutter?

Tackle it Tuesday – Recipes and the fridge

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

After I commented over on Laura’s post, I realised that I hadn’t sorted through my recipe file box and my household organising file for probably a year.

I am usually very good about throwing away paper so there’s not very much to start with but it was still irritating me so I had to get stuck in.

I also stick recipes up so I’ll have them handy to try out. Like this…

Above the recipe box, I used to keep my menu plans and other stuff because my fridge was so full.

This is my recipe “box” that I keep next to the microwave. A limited space forces me to declutter if things get out of hand.



And then here’s my fridge, with a million and one fridge magnets, old photos, lists of this and that (like the 10 best feel-good songs ever, courtesy of my husband LOL), generally, a mess.



Here is all the paper I decluttered from the mug section, fridge, recipe books and side cupboard.

And this is what I did with all the loose recipes – I stuck them on an A4 page before putting them in a flipfile.

Oct 2006 – organising challenges

Week 1 – Declutter your kitchen counter tops.
Do you really need everything on your counter tops?

Go around your kitchen with “new eyes” and see what you can declutter.You should only have things that you use more than once a week on your counter top. If, for example, you have an electric frying pan out that you use once a month, consider storing it in a cupboard and only taking it out when you use it.

Tip – use vertical space wherever possible. Instead of a canister with your cooking utensils, consider mounting hooks above your stove for them.

Week 2 – Organise your clothes on shelves.
I would suggest that you put all the clothes you frequently use at shoulder height and the rest either one shelf up or down.

I swop mine around every winter or summer and I find that it helps to keep my shelves neat and tidy. My jeans and T-shirts are now at shoulder height and the long-sleeved tops and jerseys have been moved a shelf down now that it’s Spring.

Week 3 – Declutter and organise your recipe books and files.
This week, we are going to sort out all those recipe books in the kitchen. I know what it’s like because I’m just like you.

You see some gorgeous books at the bookshop, imagine cooking all those delicious meals and buy the book. If you’re lucky, you make one or two recipes and then that’s it – they start gathering dust.

So our challenge is to sort the books into two piles – books I use (or have used) and books that just look pretty and take up space. Let go of the second pile to other cooks, second hand bookshops, etc. and free up some space in the kitchen.

Once you’ve decided on the ones to keep, buy a pretty magazine folder and keep them together neatly. I download things off the internet too and use plastic flip files to organise those recipes.

Now and again I go through them and throw out recipes I know I have no intention of ever making.

I don’t know if I’m lazy or if I just prefer to cook more creatively but the only recipes I tend to keep are for baked goodies.

Have fun with this one – maybe you’ll even get inspired to cook or bake up a storm this weekend. THink of me if you make any muffins (I LOVE baking muffins because they’re so easy).

Week 4 – Spruce up your coffee & end tables.

Do you have an organising question for me?
Email your question

There are less than 3 months left before Christmas. Wouldn’t you like to have an organised, peaceful Christmas? Go to http://takechargesolutions.org/12org.pdf to see how I can help you.

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