Vanilla Joy Guest: Vanessa on Recipe Organization

by Kelsey Norwood

in Food,Guest Blogger

Today’s guest is Vanessa Brown from I Never Grew Up.

recipe_cardsI don’t know about you, but it seems like more and more, most of the recipes I use have been found on cooking websites and cooking blogs. I still love cookbooks and enjoy owning quite a few too many, but I still think I use online recipes even more than my favorite cookbooks.

Here is the problem I run into though…I find a recipe that I just have to try. Then I print it out or email it to myself so it shows up on my phone and then it promptly gets lost. My husband will ask, “Remember that “such and such” you made last Christmas? I loved that. You should make it again.” This sends me to using search engines or spending hours browsing blog archives to only get frustrated (or distracted) that I can’t find it.

So I have been doing some research and trying out some new things to keep my online recipes organized and at my fingertips for 2011!

  • An Actual Physical Notebook: I still prefer the “old fashioned” feel of flipping papers, seeing pictures and adding notes and I think
    I always will.
  • Blog Photo Album: You could also just get a cheap photo album that holds 4×6 photos. Then print out a snapshot of yours or the blogger’s  photo of the recipe. Put it on one side of the page and a print out of the recipe formatted to fit the other side of the album page.
  • Smart Phone Applications: When I started looking around and asking friends, I was stunned to learn that there are TONS of apps that you can get for your phone to solve this problem. MacGourmet for Mac Users, RecipePad for IPad Users, Paprika Recipe Manager for your IPod and Digital Recipe Sidekick for your Google Android Phone. Google Docs: Almost everyone is on gmail now which is great because Google has created so many great resources for us to use. With Google Docs you can organize your recipes by keyword or category and they will never be lost in the sea of endless blogs & websites again!
  • Dedicated Recipe Email: I thought this was an awesome idea as well, and something that could really work for me because it is very easy. Set up an email that is dedicated to JUST be your “recipe email” where you email yourself recipes you want to try, have tried, etc. Then you can organize the recipes just like you do your emails: in different folders, etc.
  • Websites: There are websites out there created just to help you keep your recipes organized. Some have a fee and some do not. Some of them are:,, and even has a system if you get most of your recipes from them.
  • Social Bookmarking: If you are a big fan of and understand social bookmarking sites like, or, you can use these site’s systems to help you organize your online recipes.

Do you have any ideas for organizing your online recipes? I am still in the midst of finding out which option works for me but know I am working in the right direction! One of these ideas is bound to stick to help me with this for 2011.

I know I’m going to work on making my recipe cupboard a little less of an eyesore this year… Thanks for the great tips.


1 Samantha January 6, 2011 at 9:43 am

I too love the “old fashioned” cookbooks I can page through. I have a binder that I put all the printed out recipes off the internet in, that way if they are keepers, I know where they are. One of my favorite books in a cookbook I made last year for Christmas presents for everyone. I took recipes I had collected over the years from family members and made a cookbook of just those. With two recipes on each page, my cookbook was about 175 pages. It was a lot of work, but it is great to have a family cookbook and all the scattered recipe cards are no more.

2 Abby January 6, 2011 at 10:01 am

I am a big fan of using photo albums for recipes. I have one for main dishes, one for breakfast-y foods, and one for desserts. It’s easy to stick in existing recipe cards or print-offs from the internet. Plus you still get the old-fashioned and personalized feel of flipping through pages.

3 Sarah January 6, 2011 at 5:07 pm will be going away soon (Amazon killed it). So I started using and it’s an even better alternative to delicous. I have thousands of recipes saved online using those services.

4 Rhonda January 6, 2011 at 5:15 pm

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the Paprika app for my IPad! It’s the best solution I’ve found and saving recipes is soooo easy with it.

5 Kathy Mc January 7, 2011 at 10:18 pm

For recipes I think I’d like, I copy and paste them into a Word document and save in a Recipe folder on my Mac. It’s an easy way to find them regardless of what site or blog I found them on. Only takes a few seconds to copy and paste, but I’ll have to check out MacGourmet and see what that’s all about. Great topic of conversation though as why do we need to keep all those cookbooks for a few favorites in each? I’ve been wondering that recently. : )

6 Angela January 8, 2011 at 2:39 pm

Great post!
I recently found a kitchen laptop stand at PC world. It keeps your laptop safe for food splatter. It’s been a lot of fun using my laptop in the kitchen.

Here’s the link if you’re interested:

7 Lisa w January 8, 2011 at 10:18 pm

I copy and paste mine into evernote.

8 harmonious1 December 25, 2011 at 12:55 pm

I use Google Docs for mine. It has issues sometimes, but they always work really hard to get them straightened out. It is working for me and it’s constantly being updated, free, searchable and you can share with someone or publish to the web.

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