February is a month of birthdays in my family, and I have gifts on the brain. Unfortunately, just a month and a half after Christmas, money is usually tight when all the birthdays hit. I’m always on the lookout for frugal gift ideas, and yesterday a friend and regular reader, Angelsong, reminded me of a wonderful, inexpensive gift: A Personalized Recipe Book!

I received one such recipe book from my aunt a few years ago at Christmas. It is truly one of my treasured possessions.

How to Make a Personalized Recipe Book

All you need to make a personalized recipe book is

  • a binder
  • some page protectors, if you like
  • a stack of recipes
  • some good anecdotes

To put the recipe book together, just print up the recipes. Be sure to include any interesting facts or stories about the dish.

Grandma made this for a picnic lunch every summer


This apple pie recipe has been passed down for at least 5 generations.

Anecdotes like these transform a list of ingredients and directions into treasured memories to be passed down across generations.

Once you have the recipes printed out, slip them into page protectors or hole punch them and insert them into your binder, categorized by type of recipe. If your finished project is large, you might want to add tabs to separate the different sections of the recipe book.

Print out a cover for your recipe book, and insert it in the clear plastic sleeve on the front of the binder, and you’ve got a personalized, inexpensive gift, good for birthdays, Christmas, or bridal showers!

Why a Personalized Recipe Book Makes a Great Gift

My grandmother passed away about 10 years ago, and when my aunt sent me my grandma’s recipes for Christmas, it was almost like having a part of her back with me again.

I love trying the different recipes, but even more, I love the trip down memory lane. My aunt photocopied some of the original recipe cards onto cardstock to use as divider pages, so I have some of the recipes in my grandmother’s own handwriting.

Little notes from my aunt make the recipes meaningful. I now know what my grandma liked to prepare for company, what my grandpa’s favorite pie was, and how grandma used up extra mashed potatoes.

Since my aunt copied the recipes as written by my grandmother, some of them are incomplete, like the banket (sic) recipe that doesn’t state how long or at what temperature to bake it. And some of the directions don’t make sense to me, like the butter cookies, which are to be baked at 300 degrees on brown paper, 10 down & up. I haven’t tried either of those recipes yet, but I smile when I see them on the paper, imagining life in previous generations, when recipes were memorized, and precise directions weren’t needed.

A personalized recipe book is more than a collection of recipes. It’s also a history book, reminding younger people of generations past.

Photo by lovelihood.