Feed Your Soul

Ready Your Home for the Holidays...

- Tuesday, December 06, 2016

With only two weeks left until Christmas, it’s time to get your home ready for holiday parties and overnight guests. Here are some ways to organize and add cheer to your house without breaking the bank.

·         Brighten your bathroom by replacing your old hand towels with new ones in bold shades that complement the color scheme in the room. Clear the clutter from your bathroom counters and put out a nice liquid soap, hand cream and simple décor like candles or a dried floral arrangement.
·         It’s also important to de-clutter your living room too since this is where most of your entertaining will take place. Before guests arrive, make sure shoes are picked up along with the kids’ toys and your exercise equipment is stowed safely away.
·         You can add festive touches to your home by filling a glass bowl with pine cones and greenery, or place lightly scented candles (cinnamon, nutmeg or pine) on tables and other surfaces.
·         If you’re expecting a crowd, be sure to add a row of hooks near the door so you don’t have a pile of coats on the stairs or floor. Or, you can temporarily clear your family’s coats from the coat closet for the big event.
·         To make your out-of-town guests feel even more welcome, be sure to make extra space for their belongings. Clear out some space in your guest bedroom closet so they can hang their items. Plenty of us have forgotten to bring a toiletry or two from home. That’s why it’s nice to leave your guests a travel-size shower gel or hand cream in their room just in case.

Tips for a Holiday Cookie Swap...

- Monday, December 05, 2016

Holiday baking can be simple and fun when you host a cookie swap. Invite co-workers and friends and have each person make enough of one kind of cookie to share. At your cookie swap sample cookies, then trade and package in eye-catching assortments so everyone leaves with new recipes and tasty gifts.

For a successful swap, use the following steps

• Send out invitations to 7 or 8 guests 3-4 weeks in advance. Invite guests three to four weeks in advance. Seven or eight people are ideal -- manageable, yet enough for a good variety of cookies. 
• Ask each guest to bring a dozen cookies per guest, plus an extra dozen for the sampling. Have each person bring along copies of her recipe as well as some supplies for pretty packaging, such as cake/donut boxes and tissue paper.
• Create display cards to identify each cookie variety and the name of the contributor, i.e., “Hermits, from Laura Smith.”
• Set up a packaging station with cardboard boxes, sturdy paper plates, tags or sticky labels, ribbons, twine, baking papers, scissors, hole punches, tissue paper, cellophane, and other trimmings you prefer.

How to Simplify the Holidays - Tip 1

- Thursday, December 01, 2016

Simplify the holidays? Is it even possible? The short answer is yes. Here is Tip #1 to help you relax this holiday season.

1.    Focus on the present. Instead of stressing about the holidays, worrying about the future and fretting about the past, find peace and joy by focusing on the present.

Today's Random Act of Kindness...

- Thursday, December 01, 2016

Make a gift! 

We recommend Peppermint Sugar Scrub.

It's one of the best gifts you can make your family and friends to help ease their stress this holiday season. Cooling and energizing, research shows that peppermint oil relieves stress, tension headache pain, muscles spasms and pain as well as inflammation-causing chemicals in people with asthma. 

To make your own peppermint sugar scrub, simply mix the following together:

• 1 cup granulated white sugar (or any sugar)
• 1/2 cup mild-flavored oil (grapeseed oil, avocado oil, or melted-but-not-hot coconut oil)
• 8-12 drops essential oils (or more/less to your desired strength)
Stir until combined, then transfer mixture to a cute little glass jar or Mason jar and tie red bakers twine around them for decor.

Thanksgiving Checklist for Success - The Day Of

- Wednesday, November 23, 2016

 Tomorrow is the big day. Here is what’s left to do.

Thanksgiving Day:

[  ]  Set out all serving pieces on a counter or buffet table

[  ]  Fill condiment dishes, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate, lay serving spoons on top

[  ]  Delegate tasks such as pouring drinks, answering the door, hanging up coats, and tending the fire to family members

[  ]  Remove turkey from refrigerator for 1-2 hours and add stuffing to bird or place in a casserole dish and bake separately

[  ]  Preheat oven, then place turkey inside and baste every half hour or per recipe instructions

[  ]  Remove stuffing from bird and let stand for 20 minutes before slicing

[  ]  Brew coffee

[  ]  Reheat food in microwave if all burners are occupied

[  ]  Make gravy and last-minute vegetables

[  ]  Heat rolls or bread

[  ]  Set out condiments

[  ]  Carve turkey and pour drinks

[  ]  Enjoy dinner and then indulge in dessert

Thanksgiving Checklist for Success - 4 Days Away

- Monday, November 21, 2016

Only four days left until the big day.

Here is a to do list for the next couple of days.


4 Days Ahead:

[  ]  Defrost turkey in your refrigerator

[  ]  Make your own ice  cubes and store in freezer bags

[  ]  Time to organize and clean the house

[  ]  Put up wreaths, candles and other decorations

[  ]  Touch base with guests to find out what space they need for the dishes they are bringing and if they need any serving pieces or utensils

[  ]  Organize plastic containers, bags, wraps, etc. for leftovers

2 Days Ahead:

[  ]  Refrigerate beverages

[  ]  Buy flowers/have centerpiece delivered

[  ]  Shop for perishable food items

[  ]  Clean vegetables and refrigerate

[  ]  Set out bread if you are making homemade stuffing

[  ]  Fill butter dishes and salt and pepper shakers

[  ]  Make the cranberry sauce

[  ]  Finish light housecleaning

[  ]  Lay a fire in your fireplace for you to light later

[  ]  Put up your decorations

1 Day Ahead:

[  ]  Peel potatoes and store in a pot of cold water in the refrigerator

[  ]  Do all the meal prep you can—chopping, peeling or toasting, baking pies, etc.

[  ]  Supply bathrooms with extra paper goods and hand towels

[  ]  Make stuffing

[  ]  Spot clean rooms you’ll use

[  ]  In the evening set the table together as a family

[  ]  Make side dishes that can be baked ahead

[  ]  Set up a staging area for coffee, desserts and drinks

Thanksgiving Checklist for Success - 1 Week Out

- Friday, November 18, 2016

 Only one week left until the big day.

Here is this week’s to do list.

One Week Ahead:

[  ]  Determine seating arrangements

[  ]  Schedule your recipes and cooking schedule by day for the days ahead and by hour for Thanksgiving Day

[  ]  Verify thawing time for frozen turkey

[  ]  Ready guest rooms with fresh linens and other amenities

[  ]  Rake leaves and clean windows and glass on your front door

[  ]  Get out games or movies for the kids or ask parents to bring activities for kids to do

Let's Talk Turkey - Part Two

- Monday, November 14, 2016

Whether it’s your first time to host Thanksgiving dinner or you’re an old pro, you have questions that need answering. This collection of tips will help you choose the best bird and offer some unorthodox cooking methods.

What’s the best oven temperature?

Some cooks heat their ovens to 425°F for 30 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 325°F. While a higher heat will reduce cooking time by 90 minutes, consider that changing your oven temperature is one more thing to remember on a busy day. 


What’s the trick to getting moist turkey meat?

Start cooking your turkey upside-down in your roasting rack. This will allow the turkey’s natural juices to collect in the breast which tends to dry out otherwise. After roasting for 1 hour, flip the turkey over, breast-side up, for 1 more hour. 

How long should I cook my turkey?

For an unstuffed turkey, use the following table for cooking times. Add 20-40 minutes if you are stuffing your turkey.

Turkey Cooking Times

Pounds Hours

8 to 12 2-1/2 to 3-1/2

12 to 16 3-1/2 to 4

16 to 20 4 to 4-1/2

20 to 26 4-1/2 to 5-1/2


How will I know when my turkey is done?

Use an instant-read probe thermometer (digital or analog) to make sure your turkey is fully cooked but not overcooked. Insert the probe into the thickest part of the thigh and wait a few seconds for the thermometer to settle on a temperature. Look for 170°F and be sure to check both thighs in case one side is undercooked. If you’ve stuffed your turkey, you’ll want the thermometer to read 165°F. 

Is there anything special I need do with the turkey when it’s done cooking?

Let your turkey rest for 20 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute. You’ll get moister slices when you do.

Thanksgiving Checklist for Success - 2 Weeks Out

- Friday, November 11, 2016

Just two weeks to go until the big day. Here’s what to focus on this week.


Here are some tips for success. 

Two Weeks Ahead:

[  ]  Take inventory of tables and chairs to make sure you have enough for guests

[  ]  Gather all serving dishes, glassware and flatware

[  ]  Polish any silver pieces  and store in tarnish-resistant silver cloth

[  ]  Clean out the fridge to make room for your Thanksgiving food

[  ]  Shop for nonperishable food on your list

[  ]  Place 3x5 index cards in each serving dish or platter to help yourself remember which recipe goes where

10 Ways to Celebrate Veteran's Day

- Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Veteran’s Day is a great opportunity to teach your children about the sacrifice service members and their families make year-round. 

Here are some ways to celebrate Veteran’s Day at home, school and work.

1.    Show your support for veteran and active duty service members by wearing a red poppy or yellow ribbon. 

2.    Have a care-package packing  party. Active duty service members appreciate food, especially since most of them get tired of eating MREs. Consider sending non-perishable food. Beef Jerky is a favorite and so are sauces, spices, taco mix, and snacks like Pop Tarts, granola bars and crackers.

3.    Brighten the day of elderly or injured veterans by visiting a veterans’ hospital. You’ll get to hear some intriguing stories about their time in service too.

4.    Put your creativity to work and make cards for veterans. Keep them in your car or in your purse to give to any veteran you encounter throughout the year.

5.    If you’re a teacher, consider inviting a veteran to speak to your class about what it’s like to be in the military. Contact your local VA if you don’t know any veterans to invite.

6.    At the office, take time out of the day to recognize veterans in your workplace. An office-wide coffee break with poppy cookies or a yellow ribbon cake is a great way to express your gratitude.

7.    If possible, attend Veteran’s Day parades.

8.    Honor veterans year-round with a home-cooked meal and thank-you note for volunteering.

9.    Support veteran-owned businesses. Visit www.buyveteran.com to locate veteran owned businesses in your area.

10.  Whenever you see a veteran in uniform or wearing a veteran ball cap, tell them thank you. This small act of kindness goes a long way.


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