DIY cookbook for families with food allergies

Here's how Amber's keeping track of the recipes that fit her family's dietary needs:

My family has a lot of food sensitivities, so I work really hard at trying to find as many varied (but not too strange) recipes that we can all enjoy. I have never been much of a cook so it's a struggle.

I found that doing online searches for recipes was much more efficient and cost effective than buying cookbooks, and since no cookbook would be tailored to our exact dietary needs I have begun to build my own. I emptied out a 3-ring binder, filled it with plastic sheet covers and whenever I find a recipe I want to try, I print it out. If it's successful I put it in the book.

I keep it within arms reach in the kitchen and when it gets dirty or wet I can just wipe off any page or make notes as a please. It's been the greatest cookbook ever!

Three-ring binders are good for so much. We keep take-out menus in binders, along with babysitting instructions, newspaper clippings…

What about you?

Related: Gmail as recipe organizer


  1. Homemom3 says

    Thankfully there is only one food allergy and believe it or not that is turkey. We found this out the hard way when my son was 3 years old, ever since we’ve went out to eat on Thanksgiving. I won’t make anything with turkey in it and won’t eat any if he can’t have it.

    As for keeping things together, I use the internet and save all my favorites in different categories.

  2. kaz says

    I saw this idea several years ago either in Real Simple or Martha Stewart and began to compile my own. I have dividers, plastic protectors and even multi colored stickers like the ones they use at yard sales to mark recipes that are favorites or ones that take extra prep or special ingredients. I use All Recipes ingredient search as a filter to find recipes for what I have on hand or things I need to use up. I’ve enjoyed this method of recipe tracking so much that for Christmas I made each of my sisters and my sister-in-law one with family recipes in it. The best thing is that this is a cookbook that can grow with you instead of one you grow out of. Mine got so big that now I have a separate one just for baking!

  3. Rebecca says

    I have done this for years, and I have made several recipe books as presents (wedding or new baby presents)and I include my family’s favorite recipes. I try to put a heart and my name and the date on each recipe I give to a friend because a friend did this for me years ago on a recipe she gave me and whenever I see it I smile and think of her.

  4. Jill says

    Love binders – my husband teases me that they are my Trapper Keepers…remember those? I tear out magazine articles for my IDEA FILE BINDER, when I was planning my wedding I had a WEDDING BINDER…but my most valuable binder/tool is my CONTROL BINDER. This has all my routines, schedules, kids important stuff, grocery lists, etc. All page protected and tabed – page protectors are great for checklists w/a dryerase marker. More ideas on creating your own control binder – check out

  5. Elana says

    We do this too, in the Alton Brown Notes for your Kitchen book. That’s a good one, cause it has common food subsitutions, measurements, animal maps, etc. We’re switching between metric and imperial all the time here, so we need quick notes.

    I’m in the process of compiling my recipes for a published cookbook…Amber should do the same!

  6. jen says

    We’ve been doing this for a while but in those presentation wallets with see-through sleeves. One problem is that it’s hard to move the recipes around and order them. Suggest you use the organising tabbed dividers to seperate into similar dishes (mains, salads, desserts) otherwise it’s impossible to find the recipe you want in a hurry!!

  7. Heather says

    We4 do this as well, not only with our favorite food allergy/sensitivity recipes (if you have a lot of food sensitivities, you should read
    which changed our life after living with multiple food allergies and sensitivities) as well as for other favorite recipes. I also set one up for my eldest who is an aspiring cook–a great use for all those 4 x 6 photo holders that come in the cheap binder style photo albums.

    We use binders constantly in our homeschooling. They are great for keeping subject worksheets organized, easy to maintain porfolios, the plastic sheets are great if you put the worksheet in and let the child write on the plastic with a wipe off pen so they make for great reusable worksheets.