Category Archives: How to Ideas

A fun Idea For Your Family Reunion Cookbook

Family reunions are a great opportunity to create a family cookbook and get lots of people to participate. A family reunion cookbook motivates family members to communicate before the event and helps get everyone excited!

We have hundred’s of family reunion cookbooks under our belts and we’d love to work on yours. Our site is perfect for communicating with larger groups of family members via email and keeping everyone motivated.

Here is a fun idea for your Family Reunion Cookbook – a family directory section!

Here’s how to do it:

  • Start by creating a custom recipe category entitled “Family Members”.
  • Next, add your family member’s names and email addresses into the invitation tool so you can invite them to participate and directly add recipes and bios to your cookbook account.
  • Next ask everyone to use the add a recipe tool and have them enter their name as the title of the recipe, Their photo as the recipe photo and their bio as the personal notes. They can leave everything else blank and all of the bios will be together in one section in the back of the book.

You might want to also include a family tree so everyone knows how each other is related.

The other way to create a family directory would be to have everyone email you their info and photo and you create custom pages for each one.

Family members can even pick up the cookbooks at the reunion!


Bill Rice is founder and Co-Publisher of the Great Family Cookbook Project, a website that helps families and individuals collect and share food memories through customized printed cookbooks filled with treasured recipes. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest!

6 Way to Enter Your Recipes into a Family Cookbook

It’s true, the hardest thing about working with is getting all of our beloved recipes entered into the system so we can create a one of a kind cookbook for family and friends.

You have several options when you want to enter a recipe into your own recipe book.

Here are some of my favorite:

Typing – This is straight forward. You open the Add A Recipe form and use your keyboard to type in the recipe and click on the save button (don’t forget the last part!).

Other People Typing – One of the features that makes unique is that we make it easy to invite others to contribute recipes to your cookbook so you don’t have to do all of the work. Use the invitation tool and have others submit recipes that you can then edit. It’s a great way to build a family cookbook and brings everyone together.

Cut and Paste – If you already have many of your recipes in a text format, like in a Word document, you can cut and paste the recipes into the form. This also works when you find a recipe on a website and you’d like to include it in your cookbook.

Here’s how: Simply highlight all the ingredients in your source document and hold down the Ctrl key while pressing the “C” key on your keyboard. Next go to “add a new recipe” in your family cookbook site. Click in the ingredients box and now hold the Ctrl key while pressing the “v” key. This pastes what you have copied into the field. Repeat for title, directions and notes and you are done!

Import a recipe from a website – We have created a tool to import recipes from some websites. However, it does not always work because every website is different in the way it lays out its recipes.

From your quick start editors menu, click on the Recipe Center button. There you will find a link to “Import Recipes from another website”. This will allow you to take the URL from the recipe page and try to import it into your cookbook. If that does not work, you can cut and past the ingredients and directions into a new recipe page which is very easy to do.

Dictate recipes – If you don’t like to type, you can also talk your recipes into text form that can be cut and pasted into the Add A Recipe form. To see how to do this, see the recent blog post How to Dictate a Recipe Into Your Family Cookbook Project.

Use a photo – One of the most asked questions we get is “How can I scan a recipe and use it in my cookbook?”

If you have a recipe box or collection of recipes that you would like to scan and use as your recipes in a family cookbook, it can be done. However, a problem with scanned or photographed recipes is that the system can not read the text to create titles and indexes and other parts of the cookbook. The computer just sees them as photos.

So you have two options:

You can include the scanned images as photos attached to recipes that you have typed into the system. This preserved the original form of  the recipe card and makes the recipe highly readable.

Second, you can upload the recipe card image on the Add A Recipe form as the recipe itself and just type the recipe title and contributor name. This saves typing and you get to use the image as the entire recipe. You can add personal notes if you want.

So however you get your recipes enter your recipes into, it is the first step to creating what will certainly be a treasured family heirloom to be passed down to future generations.


Bill Rice is founder and Co-Publisher of the Great Family Cookbook Project, a website that helps families and individuals collect and share food memories through customized printed cookbooks filled with treasured recipes. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest!


Subscribe to the New Family Cookbook YouTube Channel

Our job at Family Cookbook Project is to make the process of creating your own personal cookbook as easy as possible for you, our editors.

That’s why we recently added the new “How-To” section of with step-by-step directions to some of your most common requests. You’ll find it the second option in the black navigation bar along the top of every page of the site.

However we also know that seeing can be easier to understand  that reading. That is why we have started the new Family Cookbook Project YouTube Channel.

We have started creating a series of video walk throughs to help you see how some of the tools are used in  Here are the first videos in the How To playlist:

  • How to get started  – This tutorial walks you through the steps needed to create your account and takes a quick look at your editors account.
  • Editor Homepage Intro – Take an introductory video tour of the family Cookbook Project editor’s homepage and see all of the options available to create your own personal cookbook.
  • How to select a cookbook cover – Family Cookbook Project has an entire library of professionally designed cookbook covers that you can use on your custom cookbook. This tutorial show you have to select the cover that is right for you. Future tutorials will cover how to create a custom cover for your personal cookbook.
  • How To Use Custom Categories – Custom Categories allow Family Cookbook Project editors to change the default recipe categories in their cookbook to be personalized for their needs. It offers the flexibility to create your own custom recipe book the way you want it to appear.

In addition to the How To videos, we also have a Features and Benefits Playlist which will show videos we use to promote and show why creating a custom recipe books is a great idea. Here are the first videos in the Features and Benefits playlist:

Please let us know how you like these videos and what topics you’d like to see covered. Also you can help us by subscribing to the YouTube Channel and have any new videos delivered directly to your video feed.




Bill Rice is founder and Co-Publisher of the Great Family Cookbook Project, a website that helps families and individuals collect and share food memories through customized printed cookbooks filled with treasured recipes. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest!

How To Create a Mini Cookbook

Do you have a lot of recipes of a specific type? Maybe you love to make cookies or pies or cakes. You can create a “mini cookbook” to organize your recipes and even share with family and friends.

With a few as 10 recipes, you can create a single category cookbook or multiple categories within a theme.

For example, were I live, oysters plentiful and are some of the best in the world. My family eats a lot of oysters each summer and I thought it would be great to create a cookbook with just oyster recipes. It was so well received, it is now available on Amazon!

You can buy a copy of The Wellfleet Oyster Cookbook by clicking on this link.

Next, I plan on creating a BBQ mini cookbook and giving it out as gifts for Christmas to my friends and family.

To create you own mini cookbook, go to the Production Center on your editor page and select “more cookbooks”. Here you can create your own mini cookbook and even import your recipes from your main cookbook using our recipe transfer tool.



Bill Rice is founder and Co-Publisher of the Great Family Cookbook Project, a website that helps families and individuals collect and share food memories through customized printed cookbooks filled with treasured recipes. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest!

Free Family Tree Tool is often asked if users can include a family tree in there personal cookbook and we also say “Of course! You can have as many custom pages as you wish in your Family Cookbook.”

The hard part is creating a good looking family tree graphic without being an artist or computer wiz.

We have found a free online tool that can help you create a simple family tree from scratch or you can use one of their pre-designed templates.

The website is and we have no connection with them. We just found this tool and thought our editors would be interested.

To get started you can pick one of the templates and then create an account. You can have up to 3 charts going before you are required to pay. You also have the ability to start from scratch and build your own design.

If you plan an including your family tree in your cookbook, be sure to export the image as a Jpeg file. This can then be included as part of your introduction or on a custom page in your cookbook.

Here is another family tree created using the tool.


Bill Rice is is his family’s genealogist and founder and Co-Publisher of the Great Family Cookbook Project, a website that helps families and individuals collect and share food memories through customized printed cookbooks filled with treasured recipes. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest!


Family Cookbook Goes French and Spanish

Have you ever wanted a recipe to make Étouffée or use a  jalapeño in a recipe in your family cookbook?

We are pleased to announce that can now display both French and Spanish accented characters.

Until now, inserting accented characters in your text resulted in question marks replacing the characters. Now you can use these characters in your title, contributor name, ingredient list, directions, and personal notes.

Each field has a drop down menu for “Insert Characters”. When you need to use an accented character, simply click on the pull down menu and select the one you want. If you have a keyboard that uses these letters, they can be automatically included when you type them.

French uses five different types of accented characters. In no particular order, they are:

  • ç – the cedilla (la cédille)
  • é – the acute accent (l’accent aigu)
  • â/ê/î/ô/û – the circumflex (l’accent circonflexe)
  • à/è/ì/ò/ù – the grave accent (l’accent grave)
  • ë/ï/ü – the trema (l’accent tréma)

Spanish Letters and Accents include: á, é, í, ó, ú, ü, ñ, ¿, ¡

The tool also allows you to insert special characters like degrees º, Trademark ™, Copyright © and common fractions like ½.


Recipe Search Tool Update

One aspect of our website that always gets a lot of traffic is our Recipe Search Tool. This allows anyone to search for interesting recipes from thousands of family cookbooks that have not not been marked private.

We are currently reworking the programming behind our recipe search. The database has grown to more than 2 million recipes and was effecting the  entire publishing system as editors were getting their cookbooks ready to print for Christmas.

We hope to have the search tool back online shortly.

In the mean time, you can use Google to search our recipes Here is an article How to Use Google to Search Within a Specific Website showing with easy to follow pictures on how to do it.


A Mother’s Gift

We owe our mothers so much. They give us life, they nurture us, feed us and teach us.

Our mothers are also often our first teachers in the kitchen. From them we learn table manners, what a family meal is and how it brings us all together. Our lessons start when we watch and mimic what we see in the kitchen and at the dinner table. As we grow and understand, we are taught by being allowed to become a “mother’s helper” and do some of the simpler tasks of getting the family meal prepared. Later in life, we use all of the years of learning by contributing our favorite family dishes when the family gathers at holidays, taking some of the pressure off of our mothers.

As a mom, it is important to pass those life skills on to our children so they have the same foundation in the kitchen that we learned from our parents.

Here are some simple ideas to consider when teaching the next generation how to prepare the family meal:

Teach measurements– Find tasks for young ones that allow them to stay in one location, but keep them busy. Give them a measuring spoon and ask them to count how many teaspoons are in a cup of flour or water. Once they fill the cup, use it in your recipe.

Name the tools – Many of the tools of the trade in the kitchen have specific names and specific uses. Teach the names of the tool as well as their purpose in preparing the meal. That way when you ask for a wisk you don’t get a potato masher!

Plan meals together– For most families, dinner usually includes a main dish or entre, a side dish or two providing a starch and vegetable, and if we are lucky a dessert. Discuss why certain side dishes go together and how to plan a well-balanced meal.

Use recipes – Many mothers have made their favorite family recipes so many times, that they don’t even use a recipe any more or they never had one from their mother. Trial and error can come later, to start have a set of family recipes that can be used to provide step by step instructions to a young chef. If you don’t have them, write them down as you make a dish and start collecting them.

A great way to help mom collect and share her family recipes is to help her create a family cookbook. The Family Cookbook Project ( offers a gift certificate that can printed out and included in a Mother’s Day card. This gift will help any mom create an easy online family cookbook that can then be printed and shared for generations to come.

Mom’s can also give themselves a gift to help preserve their family food traditions. By creating a family cookbook and collecting your family recipes, you will be creating a helpful guide for future generations.

Bill Rice is Co-Publisher of the Great Family Cookbook Project, a website that helps families and individuals collect and share food memories. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest!

How Much Does Printing a Family Cookbook Cost?

One of the most ask questions we at receive from people considering creating their own personal cookbook full of family recipes is “How much will it cost to print my cookbook?”

The cost of printing a cookbook has two variables: The number of pages in the cookbook, the amount of color and the number of copies to be printed.

If you think about it, this is fairly straight forward. More pages means more paper and ink need to be used to create the cookbook. Color images printed using 4 different inks so they are more expensive than black and white page.  So much of the cost is based on the materials being used to create the cookbook.

The number of copies is important because the printing press and bindery equipment must be set up for each cookbook. The cost of this set up is split over each cookbook, so it you only print one cookbook (our minimum) that set up cost will have a larger impact on the price per copy than if you printed 100 copies.

You will find the complete pricing for the use of the site at

You will also find a way to estimate the cost of your cookbook printing at the bottom of the page, however the actual cost will be determined by the number of pages contained in your cookbook when you send it to print.

If you already have a Family Cookbook Project account, go to the Publishing Center and you can get a quote based on the current number of actual pages in your cookbook. You also can adjust these totals to see what the impact on pricing would be.

Lowering the cost of printing

The best way to lower the cost of printing your family cookbook is to lower the number of pages.

To save pages, go to Layout and Design Center in your editor’s account.  Under Recipe Layout, choose any or all of these options to save space:

  • Choose Arial or Times Roman, Two Column Small for the smallest type face.
  • UNcheck Print my recipes in non-continued format
  • UNcheck Force recipe photos to be on same page as recipe
  • CHECK Print Directions and Comments as single paragraphs
  • Under Recipe Sorting, choose Print my recipes in book order – shortest to longest


Bill Rice is founder and Co-Publisher of the Great Family Cookbook Project, a website that helps families and individuals collect and share food memories through customized printed cookbooks filled with treasured recipes. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest!


How To Write A Great Recipe

Whether you are adding a family favorite on, starting a blog, or entering a recipe contest, learning how to properly write a recipe is a valuable skill any food lover can use.

Below are a few standards and general rules of thumb when it comes to writing a recipe.  It is important to accurately communicate the ingredients and process, so your recipe can be recreated by others.

There are five parts to a great recipe, the Title, Ingredient List, Preparation Method, Number of servings and Comments. Each one plays an important part in the overall recipe.

Recipe Title:
This is the  name of your recipe using words that accurately describe the dish.  Feel free to have a little fun and make it catchy!  You want people to keep reading and be inspired to make the recipe themselves. Which would you rather have, a “chocolate chip cookie” or a “Grandma’s Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie”.

The Ingredient List

The ingredients tell the reader what is needed to make the recipe.  List all ingredients in order of use, as described in step-by-step instructions. When several ingredients are used at the same time (in the case of baking, often all the dry ingredients are sifted or mixed together at once), list them in descending order according to volume. If there is an issue over preparation, list in order, so for example if you need the zest and juice of a lemon, list the zest first and then the juice since that is the order you will do the preparation.

If the recipe has different elements (a pie, for example has a crust, a filling), break up the ingredient list with headings such as “Crust” and “Filling.” On the Add a Recipe form, there is a checkbox to make a multipart recipe. This is handy for creating sub recipes within a larger recipe.

Try not use two numerals together. You need to set off the second number in parenthesis. This comes up with sizes of packages. For example, “1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese.”

If an ingredient begins with a letter instead of a number, freshly ground black pepper, for example, capitalize the first letter, as in “Freshly ground black pepper.”

If the preparation of an ingredient is simple, place that technique in the ingredient list, as in “2 eggs, beaten” or “1 stick butter, softened.”

If an ingredient is used more than once in a recipe, list the total amount at the place in the ingredient list where it is first used, then add “divided.” In the method part of the recipe, indicated the amount used at each step. For example “1 cup all-purpose flour, divided” then in the method “Sift 3/4 cup of the flour with the…” and later “Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of flour on top of…”

Use generic names of ingredients (semi-sweet chocolate chips, not “Tollhouse chips”

The Preparation Method

The recipe directions tell the reader the specific steps needed to make the dish. Where helpful, indicate the size of bowls and cookware. For example, “In a large mixing bowl….”. The same hold true with level of heat when cooking on a stove top.  For example, “Simmer over low heat.”

Separate each step into a different paragraph. If you are mixing dry ingredients in a bowl, for example, use one paragraph for all the instructions for that step.

State exact or approximate cooking times, with descriptive hints for doneness, if appropriate. For example, “Sear 1 minute on each side,” and “Bake 18-22 minutes, or until crust is light golden brown.”


Personal notes helps make a recipe come alive. Writing about your favorite memories of the recipe or the person who first introduced the recipe to you helps to make the recipe more interesting and personal.

Use this area to also communicate anything additional information someone would need to know to recreate your recipe at home. You can also offer ideas for alternate ingredients, tips, or serving suggestions.

Anytime you are sharing a recipe from an outside source, make sure you give credit where credit is due.

Time and Servings

When you start a recipe, you want to know how much time it will take to make and how many people it will serve. Preparation time includes all the measuring, chopping and other preparation of ingredients. Cooking time refers to the total time the food takes to cook, including any preliminary cooking needed.


One of the best ways to get someone interested in your recipe is to include a photo. How many times did you look through a cookbook and say “my that food looks good”. Photos also help the person making the recipe know if their final product looks right compared to the original.



Bill Rice is founder and Co-Publisher of the Great Family Cookbook Project, a website that helps families and individuals collect and share food memories through customized printed cookbooks filled with treasured recipes. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest!