Treasures From the Recipe Box

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One of the unforeseen benefits of choosing to homeschool is that it has allowed us to slow down our pace of life.

I’ve come to treasure so many of the “old-fashioned” ideas that have gotten lost in our fast-paced world. Homeschooling has given me more control of our schedule. It has allowed me to take the time to be at home, prepare a meal, and just be together. This surprising gift has become something I know I will look back on and cherish.

I was cooking a meal for my family a few nights ago and it hit me that there weren’t likely many individuals my age still using an old-fashioned recipe box. Honestly, I think I would be lost without it.

Mine stays above my stove and it has been well used. You can tell my family’s favorites because the cards are stained and splattered. Many of the recipes are in the handwriting of my mom, grandmothers, mother-in-law, and friends. Some are on napkins, some on cardboard, some on beautiful floral printed cards.

There is a pretty high bar for a recipe to make it into the box.

I absolutely love reading recipes and browsing through Pinterest as much as anyone, but all of those recipes don’t necessarily become favorites or warrant a spot. Before they make the cut they have to pass the test of being both a joy to cook and to eat. It will then become a recipe that will be repeated. Many are also from meals I’ve enjoyed at others homes and knew I wanted to try to recreate.

It’s comforting to know that someone I loved took the time to share these recipes and there is a connection with the individual that wrote it and shared it that I can’t quite explain.

Reading their writing and preparing a familiar meal reminds me of other times we’ve eaten that food or spent time with that person and it’s such a gift.

There is something about holding a physical card that makes me slow down and enjoy the moment I’m in.

Much for the same reason I read physical books, I also enjoy using recipe cards. In a world full of screens and digital content I feel we can easily lose a connection to our past. I may not be able to articulate just why but it does something good for my heart and soul and I hope you will find the beauty in it that I do.

(I also hope that my children will continue this tradition!)

Here are a few of my family’s favorite recipes. I know you will enjoy them.

Old Time Spaghetti Sauce

This first one is for our homemade old-time spaghetti sauce. I know most people just pour out of a store-bought jar, but the little bit of time it takes to get this one simmering on the stove is well worth it in flavor. My grandmother, who just turned 90, has been making this one my whole life and got the recipe from a friend of hers years and years ago. It’s a go-to if I’m making dinner for a crowd or taking dinner to someone and everyone loves it!

Go ahead and print out this handy recipe card and add it to your own recipe box!

(If you don’t have one, keep reading!)

These next two recipes I want you to copy onto your own recipe cards and add them to your recipe box. If you don’t have a recipe box or cards, why not get them now and start this tradition in your own home?

German Chocolate Cookies

If I’m asked to bring a dessert at the last minute, everyone who knows me knows it will be German Chocolate cookies.

They are easy and always devoured, plus they are my kids’ favorites. I came across this recipe in college and have been making it ever since.

(This is also an easy one to make with your own kids – homeschool math for the win!)


1 box German Chocolate cake mix (any brand)

1 stick butter (½ cup)

½ cup old fashioned oats

2 eggs

1 bag (10.5 oz) milk chocolate chips


Mix butter, eggs, and cake mix with a mixer.  Add in oats.  Then stir in chocolate chips and drop by tablespoon full onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees until just set.  You want them to still be sort of soft in the middle!  Enjoy!

Treasures from the Recipe Box

Homemade Vegetable Soup

The last recipe is for another childhood favorite and that’s my Grandma Gerry’s homemade vegetable soup.

That same 90-year-old grandma who taught me most of what I know about cooking has been serving this up with a cake of homemade cornbread my entire life and it always hits the spot on a cold night.

The measurements are a little hard to put into writing since some of it is just an “eyeball” amount as many things are with old recipes!


2-3 baking potatoes

1 small onion, diced fine

1 (46oz.) can of tomato juice

1 (15oz.) can yellow sweet corn, undrained

1 (15oz.) can small green peas, undrained

1 (15oz.) pinto beans, undrained

1 cup elbow noodle pasta

1 stick (½ cup) butter

1 tbsp. Sugar

Salt and pepper to taste


Peel and dice potatoes into small bite-sized pieces. Put potatoes and diced onion into a large stockpot. Cover the potatoes and onions with water and boil until the potatoes are fork-tender. Then add the rest of the ingredients. Simmer on low for about two hours.

Here’s to dinner – and here’s to everyone out there who is a bit old-fashioned like me!

Do you keep a recipe box? What are some of your favorite recipes inside?

Leave me a comment below and let me know!

This is post is from Homegrown Learners contributor, Allison. She is a wife and mother with a passion for reading. With a background in Early Childhood Education as well as experience working in Corporate America, the events of the past year exposed her to the rewards of teaching her own children at home.

She hopes to encourage anyone who has ever been anxious about taking this leap with her own personal successes and failures of her family’s first year of homeschooling.

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