Friday, September 13, 2013

New Beginnings

Hi! I am Serena and I.... skipping the whole "I love to cook! These are my hobbies! Here are pictures of my hottie husband and adorable child!" because if you are reading this, you either stumbled upon my blog looking for recipes and tips (patience, young Jedi) or already know me and have seen my hottie husband and adorable child. So, onto other topics....

I originally had the idea to start a new blog two years ago, when I was first pregnant with Gabriel. I like the idea of blogging, especially so I have an outlet for sharing recipes. However, in the end, I decided to not bother with it; I just didn't feel like I had the time. It's amazing how exhausted I was during the beginning of my pregnancy... it almost compared to how exhausted I was when Gabriel was first born. ;) To be frank, I am still not sure if I really have the time now for a blog, but if I am going to get back into writing (which I desperately need to do), this seems like a great way to do it.

So.... here I am, blogging again. Sharing recipes, chatting about life, etc. Life mostly consists of cooking, work, and Gabriel right now (with occasionally time for Nate, too!), so no promises on how interesting this is going to be.

Oh, and if you think of tons of pictures when you think about food blogs? Yeah.... this isn't a blog for you. I don't take a ton of pictures when I cook/bake. That would take time and effort that, truthfully, I would rather spend actually cooking/baking. Or with the cutest little one-year-old I know. I consider it quite the accomplishment if I remember to take a picture of the END RESULT. Which is something I really am trying to work on, because of the.... (segue time!)

....Recipe book I have been working on! This was a month-long project for me recently, and will be an ongoing thing. I stole my Grandma's idea of using a 3-ring binder and sheet protectors, but adjusted it quite a bit. Below is a screen shot of what each recipe looks like. (And yes, I did search to find one that I had a picture of.)

I previously had Recipe Manager, but just was not happy with it. The formatting was atrocious (to be fair, my version is about 5 years old; but even new I wasn't happy with it), and was not what I really wanted. I looked at another computer program, but there were downfalls to that one as well; things I didn't want to work around. (The fact that I couldn't use the computer for a TV show while I was using it to cook, and the general formatting.) My recent method of some recipes in books, some recipes loose-leaf, some on the computer, some on Pinterest, some lost forever...  well, you can tell that wasn't working so well. So, after a lot of thought and some discussions with Nate, I decided to go Grandma's route.

I purchased a large 3-ring binder, a couple packages of sheet protectors thinking that would be plenty (HA!), and a set of 8 extra large tabs thinking that I couldn't possibly have more than 8 categories of food (HA!). A few more packages of sheet protectors & another package of tabs later.... I am quite happy with the end result. I scrounged around for any recipes I've made (and remember making), which resulted in the large 3-ring binder being almost full. I have the following sections:
  • Appetizer
  • Bread
  • Breakfast
  • Crock Pot
  • Dessert
  • Drinks
  • Entree
  • Jam/Jelly
  • Misc
  • Side Dish
  • Soup
I have a table of contents for each section, and each recipe is formatted EXACTLY how I want it. I also have them saved in Google Drive, which means it is incredibly easy for me to edit, I can access it from anywhere (aside from my work computer, which recently has become the worst computer I've had to use in years), and it's easy to make copies for people. (Food is love, which means that sharing recipes is sharing love. Everyone needs more love. Some of us just need more low-calorie love...)

If you can't see in the picture (which is just a screen shot of my Google Drive document), each recipe consists of the following:
  • Header: Main flavors & categories
  • Main page: Picture (ha), ingredients, directions, yield/time, nutrition facts, and comments.
  • Footer: Recipe source

I am pretty happy with the end results, and can't even think of ways to make it better. Nate suggested an index based on ingredients, but that would be pretty time-consuming to make. Time consuming to the point of not being worth it. I keep tossing the idea around (what's the laziest way I can do that...), but I don't think I am going to, at least not right now. I also know my recipes well enough that, by glancing at the recipe title, can usually tell you if I have most of the ingredients on hand/what ingredients I would need to buy. Mama & Grandma have both seen it, and both seemed pretty impressed; which made me excited. Neither of them had suggestions for what to do to make it better. (Although there were quite a few laughs about the size of the dessert section.... which is where I got the idea for the blog name.)

If you wanted to do something similar, it would be SO easy to adjust this to suit your needs/desires. I LOVE to play with recipes, so I wanted the comment section to record thoughts/ideas. Some people don't care about the source, or nutrition facts. The hardest part was getting it all typed up/copied from other formats. Once that was all done, and the initial month-long project was over, it's going to be easy to keep it up.

So, now that I have bragged about my new recipe book excessively, I think this is enough for a first post. (The recipes will come later, I promise!) If you want to see my new book, please just ask me! I would love to show it off, give people ideas, receive constructive criticism...

My goal is to have at least 2-3 posts a week; we'll see how that goes.

Now, it's time for this little Mama to get around for work. Have a fantastic day!

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