recipe scrapbook

August 31, 2007

Have a Community Bake Sale & Help End Childhood Hunger

Filed under: great causes — Kate @ 1:19 pm

The fact that you found our website proves that you are lucky.  Not only do you have recipes that you want to document and share with your friends and family, but you are able to buy the ingredients to make those recipes.  Not to sound like a grumpy mother whose child won’t eat their brocs, but REALLY there are children in THIS country who are hungry.  

Did you know?

  • 1 in 4 persons standing in a soup kitchen line is a child
  • 12 million American children face hunger
  • Only 20% of low-income children who receive school lunch also receive food in the summer when school’s out
  • Even short periods of hunger seriously impair a child’s ability to learn and grow

These facts along with how to help this cause are all on the Share Our Strenth’s Great American Bake Sale website.

What is the Great American Bake Sale? 
Share Our Strength’s Great American Bake Sale is a national campaign where participants host their own bake sale anywhere in the U.S. from May 19 – August 31 and send their proceeds to Share Our Strength to help organizations in their community end childhood hunger.

… But Kate you are posting this on August 31.  Aren’t you a little late?
It’s not too late!  Although the campaign only runs through the end of August, you can continue to have your Bake Sale throughout the year.  Many participants are having theirs in the fall and winter during holiday seasons.  You may also contribute to someone else’s bake sale or make a donation if you are short on time.  Check their website for more info, or click here to read about the event: Bake Sale Fact Sheet.

This is a worthy, genuine cause.  I promise.  Now in its’ fourth year, over 1 million people have participated in the campaign to aid the 12 million children in America who are at risk of hunger. Have a great holiday weekend!

Spread the Word

Filed under: Holiday gifts, custom cookbooks — Ashley @ 12:51 pm

As the holiday season approaches (less than 90 days away), the PR team at The Secret Ingredients is working hard to let everyone know what you already do; that Secret Ingredients cookbooks make awesome holiday gifts.  Since any good company knows it’s nothing without its customers, we’re going straight to the source.  Spread the word!!!

We encourage you all to share your Secret Ingredients experience with friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, and more.  Whether it is in passing, at a lunch, a PTA meeting, or church bulletin board; let them know that you’ve tapped into the world of customized cookbook making and the personalized and treasured gift has proved to be quite awe inspiring.  Plus, there’s no need to fight crowds at the mall, deal with last minute shopper traffic, or burn a half a tank of gas looking for the perfect parking spot at the nearest outlet store.

As always, the Secret Ingredients Blog is the place to be for up to date company and product information, as well as tips, tricks, and yummy recipes to take advantage of in your own kitchen, plus great gift giving ideas.  Also, feel free to reach out to us with any questions, comments, suggestions, or cool stories at

That’s it for me, until next time…


August 29, 2007

The Perfect Celebration: Family, Friends, and Food

Filed under: birthdays, gift ideas — Kate @ 4:45 pm

I had a great birthday yesterday thanks to my favorite things in life- family, friends and food!  The move to Seattle put me close to 3,000 miles from my family, making it impossible for us to get together for a birthday celebration.  Yesterday morning, a box of my favorite Birthday cookies arrived at the door from my mother.  Then, two of my girlfriends, Katy and Natacha, arrived with a big, delicious chocolate cake yesterday afternoon, and my friend Amanda presented me with my very own loaf of Beet Bread over dinner. 

You can’t get any better than that! Isn’t it amazing how important food is in our lives?  It truly is one of the most heartfelt gifts.  It is satisfying to all of our senses and just makes you feel loved.  My friend Amanda is a very busy woman, but she woke up at 6am just to make my favorite bread and that was the best gift she could have given me! 

Next time your family member or friend has a birthday think about making their favorite foods.  It is the perfect gift even for those who have everything!  If you want to take it to the next level, make a cookbook full of recipes that they can make anytime.  We’ll be glad to help!

Take care and have a great day,

August 28, 2007

Birthday Cake!

Filed under: birthdays, recipes — Kate @ 2:18 pm

Today is my birthday and so I’m feeling quite festive!  My mother has always given my sister, Whitney, and I a birthday meal and cake of our choice.  When Whitney was in graduate school years ago, she came home for her birthday and brought her own cake recipe.  In past years, we both had made requests that were childhood favorites, so we were all a little surprised that Whitney wanted something new. 

As soon as the cake came out of the oven, we all knew why Whitney requested this cake.  It is chocolate paradise!  The recipe is named Triple Chocolate Cake but that hardly does it justice.  It should really be named something like The Best Chocolate Birthday Cake of All Time! It originally came from Whitney’s neighbor, and this is a family favorite to this day.

This recipe is very easy.  It’s one of those dump and mix recipes that some foodie’s would look down on, but it is SO good.. and that’s what birthday’s are all about!

Triple Chocolate Cake

1 package (2 layer) chocolate cake mix
1 package (4-oz.) Jello chocolate pudding
1¾ cups milk
2 eggs
1 package (12-oz.) chocolate chips (get the mini ones)
1 tablespoon sour cream
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting

Combine cake mix, pudding mix, milk, eggs and chips in large bowl.  Mix by hand until well-blended, 2 minutes.  Pour into greased and floured 10” bundt pan.  Bake at 350° for 50-55 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly pressed.  Do not overbake.  Cool 15 minutes in pan; remove from pan and finish cooling.  Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar.

Have a great day,

August 27, 2007

Recipe Shower for the Bride

Filed under: recipe showers, wedding ideas — Kate @ 6:10 pm

Recipes and recipe books make wonderful bridal gifts.  After months and months of wedding planning and celebration, nesting feels so good to most newlyweds!  Not only are young couples having fun with their new gifts and appliances, but they are enjoying their home together and creating their own traditions.  This is when having a collection of time-tested, favorite recipes comes in handy!

Wedding Cake

Gail in Waco, Texas had the best idea.  In preparation for her daughter Josie’s wedding, she planned a Recipe Shower.  Gail invited Josie’s closest friends and family to submit recipes to be included in a Secret Ingredients’ Heirloom Cookbook.  Guests sent recipes in via email and snail mail, and then Gail entered them into her SI account.  The final cookbook was presented to Josie at the Recipe Shower, and some people even made their favorite recipes for everyone to try at the shower! 

Want to throw a Recipe Shower for your favorite bride?  Gail is sharing the invitation she used for Josie’s shower with us!  Click on this link to see it:  Gail’s Recipe Shower Invite.  Thanks Gail!

If you would like to give the bridal party a copy of the cookbook, be sure to check out our new Wedding Keepsake Cookbooks.

Take care,

August 24, 2007

Why Food Bloggers Rock

Filed under: food bloggers, recipes — Kate @ 6:36 pm

Cooking is therapeutic for me.  I only cook my favorite recipes when I have time to really enjoy the process and when there aren’t a million other things on my mind.  I light some candles, put on my favorite cooking music, and dive into my recipe- enjoying every little step.  I even have iTunes playlists (Kate’s Groove Kitchen and Jazzy Fun Kitchen Time) just for the these times! 

Can you imagine cooking a new recipe every day for an audience?  That’s exactly what food bloggers do!  Not only do they cook something each day which obviously involves trips to the market and lots of dishwashing, but they make it presentable enough to photograph.  Then, they take the photographs of the creations, upload them, and then write about the whole experience.  Wow, that’s amazing!

Here are some recent recipes and posts from some of our favorite bloggers.  I thought you might enjoy the inspiration and reading about some of the stories behind the recipes!

Madeleines Recipe from Heidi at 101cookbooks

Thai Coconut Curry Hummus from 28 cooks

Strawberry Bread for the Masses from Ari at BakingandBooks

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes from Cooking with Amy

Cranberry Limeade Recipe from Elise at Simply Recipes

I hope you find inspiration and yummy flavors in these recipes! 

Have a great weekend,

August 23, 2007

Cookbooks about Men

Filed under: cookbook ideas, recipes — Kate @ 3:58 pm

There are many joys that come with owning a cookbook company. My favorite thing about Secret Ingredients is talking with our customers about their recipes and stories. It’s also neat to hear about the occasions and themes of cookbook projects. Each story is so personal and thoughtful, I find myself smiling, laughing, and saying “ah, how neat!” as we read through contest submissions and emails.

I’m known as the “cookbook lady” amongst my peer groups which is great because my friends tell me about cookbooks and recipes they’ve read or heard about. The subject of men and their recipes keeps popping up lately…

The Ex-Boyfriend Cookbook


This is one cookbook I heard about last week- The Ex-Boyfriend Cookbook: They Came, They Cooked, They Left (But We Ended Up with Some Great Recipes) by Thisbe Nissen and Erin Ergenbright.  The theme behind the cookbook is so funny to me!  I guess it’s always important to walk away from a relationship with something to remember it by… and how perfect is a recipe.

Does the man in your life cook?  When my family made our own Secret Ingredients cookbook, my Dad contributed his favorite recipes for the grill.  This is a perfect way to include your husband, dad, brother or uncle in your cookbook project.  Some of the recipes we see from men are so funny!  A lot of them are similar in nature:

Buy meat (any kind).
Cut up some veggies (potatoes).
Throw ‘em on the grill.
Grab a beer!

Take care and have a great day,

August 22, 2007

Recipe Inspiration: The Beet Bread Story

Filed under: Seattle, cookbook ideas, recipe inspiration — Kate @ 12:30 pm

The move to Seattle has brought many wonderful culinary adventures my way. It’s great to be in a city where wonderful food is plentiful. You can’t walk down the streets of Seattle without being reminded of the flavors of the season. From Pike Place Market and neighborhood markets to the many great Seattle restaurants (and even sidewalk foods too), there is something tasty on each block.

I love Seattle’s food attitude. Not only do most people shop organic, but they also go out of their way to support local growers. Because of this, there is a greater emphasis on seasonal foods, and you find yourself picking up items at the market that weren’t on your grocery list because they look so fresh and irrestible. As soon as you get home with your unplanned, special ingredient, you have to figure out what you want to make with your prize, and it becomes a recipe search- only backwards. You have to find a recipe that will make the most of your special ingredient and one that only includes things you have in your kitchen already (to avoid making a second run to the market!).

This brings us to the Beet Bread story. Last weekend my friend Amanda came across some beautiful beets at the farmer’s market. She brought them home, and having never prepared any recipes with beets before, Amanda started searching her favorite recipe websites. After considering beet salads and soups, she came across a recipe for Beet Bread and curiously made her way to the kitchen to bake a loaf. The bread came out beautifully- similar to Zucchini bread but pink and better (in my opinion). I was lucky enough to be given several slices to take home!

So, how about grabbing a special, seasonal ingredient next time you go to the market? Not only is this fun, but it’s a great way to expand your recipe collection. Just think- if you try several new recipes each month, you’ll have enough to fill a Keepsake cookbook to give your friends and family for a unique Holiday gift each year!

Take care and have a great day,

August 21, 2007

Heirloom Cookbook before November??

Filed under: gift certificate, gift ideas, heirloom cookbooks — Kate @ 12:28 pm

As most of you know, our Heirloom Cookbooks are on hold until November- kind of.  What does this mean??  You can continue creating your Heirloom through our website, but we are not able to print your book until November because we are upgrading the product line.

So, what do you do if you want to give an Heirloom book as a gift before November?  We have two options:

1.  The Secret Ingredients Gift Note-  We have Gift Notes available that let your recipient know that an Heirloom cookbook is being created just for them.  Let us know if you need one!  We’ll send you the Gift Note via email, and all you have to do is print it and fill in your recipient’s information. 

Gift Note


2. Create a Keepsake Book.  Our Keepsakes are much less expensive but very, very neat gifts.  Why not print a Keepsake now until the Heirlooms are ready??  A lot of families make an Heirloom cookbook as a gift for a family member and then give out Keepsake cookbooks as holiday gifts or family reunion favors.

We appreciate your understanding during this transition and apologize for any inconvenience.  We promise the wait is worth your time!  The new improved Heirlooms are incredibly beautiful and will be here in time for the Holidays!

August 17, 2007

TV-Show Gangs and Their Hang-Outs

Filed under: cookbook ideas, food TV, office cookbook — Ashley @ 12:16 pm

I’m about to reveal some interesting insight about my love for hit sitcoms that are now in late night syndication.

Most TV-Show gangs have their favorite hang-out spots or watering holes, and something tells me you do too.  Murphy Brown and the FYI news team dined at Phil’s; Roseanne and the ladies from Wellman Plastics drank their sorrows away at The Lobo; and Frasier Crane and the gang from KACL got their daily dose of coffee at Café Nervosa (the scary thing is I didn’t even have to research that stuff).

So where do you and your co-workers go?  If you all are regulars at a regular spot, you may be sitting on a treasure trove of recipes for a Secret Ingredients Cookbook.  Most times if you go to a place often enough, people start to recognize you, and you yourself start to have an affinity for certain dishes.  As a result of your loyalty, restaurant owners may be more than willing to share recipes with you to add to your cookbook.  If you add enough familiar co-workers, and favorite recipes, you may end up with an office-themed cookbook.  How cool would that be to flip through at the next holiday party or company picnic?

That’s it for me, until next time…


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