Do you ever do something that is so simple, so obvious, so effective that you find yourself wondering, “Why didn’t I think of this sooner???”
That’s how I feel about my new yomtov binder!
I am so in love with how this very simple binder has revolutionized my YomTov prep, that I just had to share it with you.
If you read my Highs & Lows post from earlier today, you know that I found myself completely ready for Rosh Hashana at 4 p.m. on Sunday. That has *never* happened to me before. I’m usually running around like crazy right until candle lighting.
I credit my new-found “zen” to the binder! Given that it worked so well for us, I wanted to share what I did, in the hopes that it might work for you, too.
Supplies: A three-ring binder and a package of sheet protectors. You will also need a printer, which ideally has the ability to photocopy/scan as well.
Step #1: Make your menu – Print it out and slip it into a sheet protector. I try to menu plan at least two weeks in advance, so I can take advantage of two week’s worth of sales at the grocery store.
Step #2: Make your grocery list according to your menu – Print it and slip it into a sheet protector. I wrote down everything I needed, then crossed out the stuff I already had at home. This way, the complete list was created so I can reuse it for future years if desired. I also divided up my list by stores, since with kosher options being what they are in Kansas City, I find I usually need to go to at least three different stores to get everything.
Step #3: Make a detailed To Do list for each day of yomtov prep. Type up that list and print it out, putting it into a sheet protector. Since RH started on a Sunday, I found myself especially stressed about how I’d get everything done in time with Shabbat to contend with as well.
I usually start cooking two nights before yomtov, but this year, I started on Thursday night, cooked most of the day Friday, did a few things Saturday night and then again on Sunday. Having my husband off work on Erev Yom Tov was also a HUGE help, and I’m glad I’ll get to enjoy that four more times this year!
Step #4: Type up, cut and paste, or photocopy every single recipe you are making for yomtov. If a recipe was online, I used the online print feature most blogs have these days. Otherwise, I cut and paste the recipe into a word doc and printed it that way. I even scanned and photocopied the few recipes I was making out of a cookbook. Every recipe got printed and put into a sleeve protector, which I put into my binder by category – appetizers, main dishes, side dishes & salads, desserts.
This proved to be a huge time-saver. Instead of needing to look it up on my phone, or find the cookbok, or search Google, I just flipped to the right page in my binder!
My binder sat on my countertop during all of yomtov prep. Since the pages were protected in plastic, I could easily wipe them down if they got shmutzy from cooking (which they did). I also was able to use a dry erase marker to cross items off as I completed them.
Eventually, I will make up a pretty cover for my binder, and I also plan to add in some dividers and create new sections for all the yomim tovim. I figure it worked so well for Rosh Hashana – why not?!
Instead of reinventing the wheel every year and wasting time looking up that apple cake recipe online (or realizing I don’t have some key ingredient), I now have my Yom Tov “Brain” to keep things running smoothly.
How do you get organized for cooking on the holidays? Anyone else using a binder with sheet protectors? I’d love to hear about it!