Feed Your Soul

How to Organize your Books at Home

- Thursday, October 08, 2015

October is National Book Month. Here are some tips for how to organize your books at home:

Start by emptying your shelves and sorting through your books. You can categorize them alphabetically or by color or genre. If you’ve not read a book in over a year, consider passing it on to a friend. Store books where you’ll use them. Keep your kids’ books at a child-friendly height in your family room. Group your books by size, keeping paperbacks and hard covers separate. If space is an issue, consider stacking large volumes no more than three high.

Keep your books’ pages dust free by taking a vacuum or microfiber cloth and working from the spine out and keeping the spine close. Avoid cleaning books with wet cleansers and if you need to clean the shelves, allow enough drying time before restocking stacks.

To maximize shelf space consider making a DIY shelf riser, saving boxes from waxed paper, plastic wrap or foil, leaving the empty rolls inside for support. Put the boxes at the back of the shelf and wrap with acid-free paper from your local craft store. Then arrange your books on top of the box or in front, leaving enough space in between.

How to Declutter Your Car

- Sunday, October 04, 2015

With all the errands to the grocery store, music lessons, soccer games, meetings and more, our cars become a catch all. Here are some simple steps to help you declutter your car.

·         Keep tools and emergency supplies at the read with a wicker basket.

·         Easy grab fabric pouches are ideal when it comes to storing smaller necessities like a first aid kit, toiletries, and kids' favorite car activities.

·         Use a three-ringed binder to keep your important papers, receipts and car registration organized.

·         Use the space near the floor in your car by repurposing a remote control caddy to store pens, pencils and small electronics.

·         Store small books, toys, mittens, sunglasses, computer games, tissue and trash (empty tissue box) in a shower caddy between siblings in the backseat.

·         Plastic shower pockets are ideal for organizing the small things you need on road trips.

How to Choose a Butternut Squash

- Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Butternut squashes are different from their summer squash relatives because they have much tougher skin that protects their firm, yellow-orange flesh. They’re self-reliant too as they don’t need to be refrigerated and can be stored in a cool, dark place for several weeks.

When choosing a butternut squash, first pick one up. It should be heavy for its size, have firm skin and be free of bruises. You’ll want to avoid squashes that have brown frostbite scars as this can affect texture and longevity. Also, avoid squashes with punctures or cuts which can lead to bacteria and mold.

How to Use the Least Amount of Dishes

- Saturday, September 26, 2015

Hate doing dishes? Here are some tips for how to avoid using so many when you cook:

1. Cook in the same dish you plan to serve from. Dutch ovens are ideal because they go directly from the oven to the table in style as long as you use a trivet.

2. Limit your cutting to one good, sharp knife and use it for everything.

3. If you’re using prep bowls, put ingredients that you’ll add together anyway into one bowl. If you’re roasting vegetables, use one tray for everything.

4. Wash dishes as you cook. When your meat is browning wash a dish. When the rest of the food is roasting in the oven finish the rest of the dishes.

5. Rinse spoons, cups and mixing bowls as you go.

6. Consider buying a scale. When you measure by weight you can pour everything directly into your mixing bowl rather than having to use and wash other measuring tools.

How to Choose the Best Avocado

- Wednesday, September 23, 2015

For authentic Latin cooking you’ll want to choose the best avocado you can put your hands on. Here are some helpful tips:

·         Choose avocados with darker skin because these are riper than avocados with lighter skin. Avoid avocados with any large indentations as this may be a sign that the fruit has been bruised.

·         Hold the avocado in the palm of your hand and gently squeeze without applying fingertips to prevent bruising.

·         If the avocado yields to gentle pressure, it’s ripe and ready to eat. If it does not, then it is still considered “firm” and will be ripe in a few days. Avocados that feel soft to the touch or mushy may be overripe.

·         This takes practice but with time you’ll know what to look for when you’re in the store.

How to Save at the Pump

- Saturday, September 19, 2015

We may not have any control over gas prices but there are some steps we can take to make the most bang for our buck. Here are some tips for how to save at the pump:

1.       Fill up on weekdays – The best time to buy gas is on a Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning because prices usually rise on the weekend.

2.       Discount Gas Cards – Rebate programs at Shell, Gulf, BP-Amoco and Exxon-Mobile offer as much as 5-10% off the gas you buy.

3.       Don’t Run on Empty If You Can Help It – Your car runs less efficiently when it’s on empty. When you have half a tank or a little less, fill your gas tank as soon as you can.

4.       Less is more – For every 100 pounds you carry in your car, your fuel economy decreases by 1-2%. Heavy items on your roof rack creates drag and eats up your gas. Opt for the trunk instead.

5.       Keep Your Eyes Open for the places near your house and work that offer the cheapest gas and shop there first.

How to Save Time at the Airport

- Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Here are some tips that have saved me time at the airport:

1. Check in online before going to the airport.

2. Wear shoes that slide off so you don’t hold up the TSA security lines

3. Don’t wear heels on the plane if you need to wear them when you reach your destination. Consider stowing them in your carry on.

4. Keep documents like your pass port, boarding pass and ID in an easy-to-access pocket or badge holder around your neck.

5. Keep toiletries in a bag that’s easy to remove from your carry-on. Do this as well for your laptop.

6. Eat prior to going to the airport or bring healthy snacks with you so you don’t have to eat airport food.

7. Sign up for the TSA’s PreCheck Program so you can use expedited security lanes and leave your laptop and toiletries in your bag.

How to Prep Healthy Food for the Week Ahead

- Saturday, September 12, 2015

Here are some tips for how to prep healthy food for your week ahead:

       1.       On the weekend make a menu and then a grocery list

2.       Pull out all the ingredients you’ll need for your meals

3.       Make the most of your time, by starting with the things that have an element of inactive work like making bread. Get the dough together and rising first, before you do anything else. With the stove and the oven on, it warms up and my dough rises better.

4.       Chop all your veggies for snacking.

5.       Make salads-in-a-jar (Mason jar). Keep lettuce separate from the dressing and it all stays fresh and crisp for days. You can dump the whole thing into a bowl or eat it right out of the jar. It’s a perfectly portable and healthy lunch.

6.       Prepare the rest of your meals to the step just before cooking, store in air-tight container and refrigerate until ready to eat.

How to Organize Lunches

- Wednesday, September 09, 2015

With five kids in the Pujols household, packing lunches for school can be ordered chaos. Here are some tips for how to keep lunches for your family better organized.

·         Make a big batch of PB&J sandwiches in advance and freeze them.

·         Put a rubber band around a sliced apple to keep it from turning brown

·         Freeze drinks the night before and they’ll double as ice packs

·         You can also freeze a clean, wet sponge to use as an icepack

·         Organize snacks for each day ahead of time.


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