recipe scrapbook

July 31, 2007

Tasty Months All Year Round

Filed under: Holiday recipes, family cookbook, family recipes — Ashley @ 9:26 pm

For those out there who are lucky enough to have a summer break, and even for those of us who aren’t, here’s a cool way to wrap up the last month of summer with a bang.  I’ve done some searching and found out that August is National Catfish Month and National Peach Month.  So fry up a meaty filet, and cut yourself a sweet slice of cobbler, because this is the month to do it.

Turns out, there are several food holidays for every month of the year; and since Secret Ingredients cookbooks come with several pre-organized food sections, I put the two concepts together and came up with a great idea…

Here’s a fun way to add new recipes to your cookbook project: Pick a month, then do some tasty research and figure out what food holiday people are celebrating that month.  Use the notes section of your Secret Ingredients cookbook to explain the story behind the recipe.  For example, I’ve had a dish before called “Everything But the Kitchen Sink Casserole”.  No surprise, it has a little bit of everything in it, but there’s actually a month to honor such a dish.  November is “National Clean Out Your Refrigerator” month.  So, if I was to add this recipe to my Secret Ingredients cookbook, this is what it would say in my Notes section: In honor of National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Month, this dish is best served in November… and only with items that haven’t expired yet!

You can also take this trick to the next level and pick a month with meaning to it (a favorite relative’s birthday month, your grandparents anniversary month, or the month you finally finished remodeling your dream kitchen).  Find a delicious recipe, incorporate it into the sentiment of the special month, and share the story with everyone that gets to read your Secret Ingredients cookbook!

That’s it for me, until next time…


July 24, 2007

Gazpacho Del Norte

Filed under: family recipes, recipes — Kate @ 12:22 pm

Have you ever considered making a business out of a family recipe?  My friend James did just that!  After years of making his family’s salsa recipe and with the help of a childhood friend, he decided to make it a business and named his operation Salsa Del Norte.  Not only has it been fun to watch the salsa batches get larger and larger, but I get to eat great salsa all the time! 

James has posted several great recipes on his website, and being a huge fan of his Gazpacho recipe, I asked if I could share it with you.  He agreed!  So, here is a refreshing, summer recipe that will make you feel healthy and enjoy the season.

1 cup chopped peeled tomatoes
½ cup Salsa Del Norte (you may use more in place of the tomato juice, depending on your taste)
2 cups V-8 or tomato juice
2 large stalks finely chopped celery
1 large finely chopped cucumber
1 medium sized green pepper, finely chopped
3 large green onions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons snipped parsley
1 small clove garlic, minced
2-3 tablespoons wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Mix at slow speed in the blender, cover and chill in glass or stainless steel bowl. Let sit at least 4 hours. Serves 6-8. 

Be sure to check out Del Norte Gourmet’s recipe page for more recipe ideas! 


July 23, 2007

Another Year, Another Candle on the Cake!

Filed under: ashley — Ashley @ 11:45 am

My birthday is this Wednesday, and boy did it sneak up on me. Being an only child, and only grandchild, my birthdays were always treated like national holidays. However, now that I’ve grown up and separated from the flock a bit, I’ve seemed to have let the hoopla slide to the wayside.

Birthday Cake

Things have been so crazy and amazing this year, and even more so, this month, that I’ve even failed to do my signature move of changing my cell phone ringer to “Happy Birthday”. Never the less, my mother, being the wonderful woman that she is, will be here this weekend to help me celebrate.
First she’ll start with a Happy Birthday call at 4:00 am (approximately the time I was born). Later, there will be some shopping to be done, and finally, the birthday dinner. I’ve noticed lately that for the past few years, I’ve requested fried fish, corn on the cob, and a pasta salad; mom’s very familiar with the menu by now. She also asked what my favorite cake was. It’s a valid question since my reply was, “All cake!” I have a huge sweet tooth, and I’m sure I could fill an entire Keepsake Cookbook with just my favorite desserts alone. I love baking, and just last Thanksgiving, I mastered an awesome Sweet Potato Cheesecake that people are still talking about. I’ll be sure to share the recipe later this fall. Anyway, one of these days I’m going to gather all of my favorite baking recipes, along with my mother’s, my two aunts, and of course my grandmother’s, and create an Heirloom Cookbook of my own. I practically grew up in the kitchen on my grandmother’s hip, so I think it’s safe to say she’d be highly impressed as she flipped through an archive of our most treasured recipes, and stories indicating just how much I’ve learned over the years.

That’s it for me, until next time… ~Ashley

July 20, 2007

A Little More about Me….

Filed under: ashley, wedding ideas — Ashley @ 3:26 pm

Now that you know what role I play here at The Secret Ingredients, I’d love to give you a small peak into who I am outside of the company.

I was born in New Jersey and have lived in several small suburban towns throughout the southern parts of the state.  I’ve spent my share of summers on the Jersey shore, and did some major shopping in Philadelphia.  By the way, there it’s simply called a cheese steak (not a Philly Cheese Steak); they’re sinfully delicious, and nothing beats the real thing!  I went to high school in Charlotte, North Carolina, and ever since then I’ve become a southern girl reborn.  I love southern hospitality, warm southern weather, and of course… good ol’ fashion southern cooking.

I graduated from Salem College with a degree in Communications, and started my professional career as a local television news producer for the ABC affiliate in Asheville.  That also happens to be the where I met Kate, and essentially the rest is history.  Within a couple of years I had reevaluated my career path, moved back to Charlotte, the Queen City, and here I am.

I still dabble in news a bit in addition to my work here at The Secret Ingredients, plus, I’m also in the process of pursuing a career in wedding and event planning.  There are no words for how excited I was when Kate told me we’d be launching a Wedding Keepsake line.  As far as my favorite family events go, weddings are right up there with Christmas!

That’s it for me, until next time…


July 17, 2007

A Note from Ashley

Filed under: customer service — Ashley @ 2:44 pm

Working for The Secret Ingredients for almost a year now has been an incredible experience.  I’m so grateful that Kate has introduced me to the wonderful world of customized cookbooks, sharing recipes and family traditions, and of course, all of her amazing customers.  I’ve always admired the fact that even though Kate is the owner and founder of The Secret Ingredients, she still makes it a point to reach out to each and every one of her customers, talk with them on a personal level, and treat them with the highest quality of respect and service.  Kate leads by example, and I plan to follow in her footsteps.

Through my work as your Customer Service Expert, as well the thoughts I share here on the blog, I plan to provide you with all the knowledge you need to create the perfect cookbook project for you, your family, and friends.  I’ll also be sharing Tips ‘n’ Tricks such as the best category to put a recipe under, how to make the most out of your Heirloom Cookbook, plus fun and unique ways to present Keepsake Cookbooks, and much more.

As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me at  Not only questions, but plenty of tip and tricks of your own, suggestions, or even a family story or recipe that inspired you to start a Secret Ingredients cookbook project… not a problem, I’m up for anything!  Thanks for stopping by, and I look forward to hearing from all of you very soon!


July 16, 2007

Meet Ashley, Our Customer Service Expert

Filed under: ashley, customer service — Kate @ 4:08 pm

Have you contacted Secret Ingredients lately?  If so, you have probably spoken to Ashley, our fun, cheerful customer service expert!  Ashley is here to answer all your questions about creating a family or community cookbook and to help you along the way.  Be sure to contact her at with your questions, ideas, or suggestions.

SI Ashley

Not only does Ashley answer your calls and emails, but she also helps our product team implement your ideas and needs into our future products.  Because she plays such a key role in our customer solutions, I have invited her to join me on the blog!  Stay tuned this week as Ashley makes her blog debut.  She will be discussing frequently asked questions, cookbook ideas, and sharing some of our customer stories. 


Great things are happening at SI!

Filed under: New features, gift ideas — Kate @ 3:53 pm

Last month Secret Ingredients moved its corporate offices to Seattle, Washington.  Hello Pacific Northwest!  With the move has come some wonderful plans to make Secret Ingredients cookbooks even better.  Here are some features to look forward to:

  • Heirloom cookbook photographs will print directly onto your divider set!
  • Order Heirloom cookbook kits that allow you to handwrite or print your recipes at home using your home computer.  This is the perfect gift for the Holidays.
  • Create multiple cookbooks within your account!  Yes, the days of waiting for our team to transfer your recipes from Heirloom to Keepsake or vice versa will be over very, very soon.  Not only will you be able to reorder your books at any time, but you will also be able to create new projects at the click of a button.If you have any ideas for us, please feel free to contact us at any time.  We love to hear your suggestions and rely on your feedback. 

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