Feed Your Soul

Let's Talk Turkey - Part One

- Monday, November 07, 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.

How much turkey should I buy?

            Depends on how many people you’re hosting and how much turkey you want for leftovers. But, as a general rule, it’s a good idea to estimate 1 1/2 pounds per person, especially if you have hearty eaters or want ample leftover. If you don’t want leftovers, 3/4 pound of whole turkey per person is sufficient. If you plan to have a boneless turkey roast, plan on at least 1/3 pound per person. If you plan to have a bone-in turkey breast, plan on 3/4 pound per person.

What’s the best way to host Thanksgiving for a crowd?

            Consider roasting two smaller turkeys instead of one large one. Smaller turkeys will cook more quickly and evenly and fit better in your fridge or roasting pan. Additionally, cooking smaller turkeys affords you the opportunity to experiment with two different types of preparations.

To brine or not to brine?

            Brining is a great option for extra flavor and moist meat. Simply combine 5-1/2 ounces kosher salt, ¼ cup sugar and 2 quarts cool water into a pot over high heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar and salt dissolve. Then remove from the heat, add 2 more quarts of water and chill in your refrigerator.

Remove turkey innards and reserve for gravy if preferred. Next rinse turkey well and double up two turkey-sized oven bags. Roll down the edges of the bag to allow the bag to stay open. Place bags in your roasting pan and then put the turkey in, breast side down inside the inner bag. Pour brine over the turkey. And then gather the inner bag around the bird so the brine covers most of the turkey. Secure the bag with a twist tie and do the same with the outer bag. Refrigerate turkey (in the roasting pan) for 12 to 18 hours.

To stuff or not to stuff?

            If you choose to stuff your turkey, you should know it will take longer to roast and there’s a greater risk the bird won’t cook evenly. This is why many cooks bake their stuffing in a separate baking dish. Baking your stuffing in a separate baking dish allows you to get that nice crispy top. If you decide to stuff your turkey, do this loosely to allow the stuffing room to expand.

Thanksgiving Checklist for Success - 3 Weeks Out

- Friday, November 04, 2016

We’re less than three weeks away from the big day and if you’re hosting Thanksgiving this year, it’s time to start your preparations. 

Here are some tips for success. 

Three Weeks Ahead:

[  ]  Determine who is bringing what on your menu and if there are any special dietary food needs

[  ]  Make your shopping list for perishables and non-perishables and paper products you may need

[  ]  If you’ve decided to order a fresh turkey, do it now

[  ]  Make a Thanksgiving to-do list and delegate tasks to family members so all the work doesn’t fall on one person (yep, we meant you!)

[  ]  Choose the china, glassware and table linens you’ll use

[  ]  Clean and iron the tablecloths and napkins you plan to use

[  ]  Order a floral centerpiece or create one of your own

Slip, Slop, Slap, and Wrap

- Friday, May 27, 2016

                An initiative of the Council for Skin Cancer Prevention, Don’t Fry Day is a day to raise awareness about the importance of wearing sunscreen and teaching kids about being sun smart. This means encouraging kids and adults alike to slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen (SPF 30 and higher), slap on a hat, and wrap on sunglasses whether you plan to spend extended time outdoors in the backyard or at the beach. Consider keeping an extra bottle of sunscreen in your car so you’re never without it. Remember to slip, slop, slap and wrap.

Pool Safety this Summer

- Saturday, May 21, 2016

                Today is Learn to Swim Day and the perfect opportunity to go over pool safety with the kids before the swim season starts. Even if you and your kids already know how to swim, the following rules will ensure everyone’s safety.

·         Children should always have an adult watching when they are in the pool. Be sure kids know to never go in a pool if there is no adult around and to call an adult if there is an emergency.

·         Gates are around pools to keep people safe. Make sure kids know to never go through any pool gates when they are closed. Stay safe and stay out!

·         The buddy system applies to swimming in the pool too. Swim with a buddy.

·         Wet concrete and walkways around pools are slick and extremely dangerous. Be sure your kids know to walk slowly in the pool area and not run.

·         Swim at a safe depth. For beginning swimmers it’s best to stay in the shallow end.

·         No pushing or jumping on others. You or someone else could get hurt.

·         Inner tubes, air mattresses, or beach balls are fun and can help you while you learn to swim, but they can't save a life.

·         There’s a reason why there’s no eating or drinking in the pool — you could choke.

Save Energy, Protect the Environment, Stay Fit

- Friday, May 20, 2016

                What if you could save energy, protect the environment and stay fit with one activity? Well, you can and today is the perfect opportunity to do so. This Bike to Work Day, consider airing up the tires and pedaling to work rather than accelerating your car’s gas pedal. If your place of work is too much distance from your home to bike, you can always drive to work and then use your bike to run errands. Or, bike around the block with your kids.

5 Ways to Indulge Your Inner Maverick on Top Gun Day

- Friday, May 13, 2016

How do you take the highway to the danger zone on Top Gun Day? Here are 5 ways to celebrate Top Gun Day and not just the movie.

1.       Top Gun Day is all about attitude and the importance of teamwork. Which is why going to a karaoke bar with your friends to sing “She’s Lost that Loving Feeling,” and “Take My Breath Away,” is perfectly acceptable. Just make sure you download some Kenny Loggins and blast “Danger Zone,” out of your car windows on your way there.

2.       You can also relive another Goose, Maverick and Iceman adventure by playing shirtless volleyball. Just make sure you shower first before meeting up with your date.

3.       If volleyball and karaoke aren’t your style, you can always exchange quotes from the movie. Tell your friends you “Have the need, the need for speed.” You can also call your friends and ask for “permission to buzz the tower,” and when they deny your request they can say “Negative Ghost Rider, the pattern is full.”

4.       Or you could always host a Top Gun party with guests dressing up like their favorite characters. Grab your aviator sunglasses and old leather jacket and if you’re really good convert a pair of overalls into a flight suit. Play some Top gun trivia, serve up some popcorn, and watch the movie.

5.       Finally, set up some chairs around the TV and break out a Top Gun video game like Hardlock that’s playable on Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. It’s a great way to indulge your inner Maverick.

Planning for Healthy Eating

- Friday, May 06, 2016

                Sedentary lifestyles, easy access to fast food, and stressful schedules make maintaining a healthy weight practically impossible. That’s the reason for No Diet Day, a day set aside to promote healthy eating rather than dieting. Lots of us have tried various weight loss programs, fad diets, dietary supplements and weight loss pills only to find we’re right back at our starting weight. That’s why a little planning can go a long way. Consider planning a weekly menu for all the meals you and your family will eat that’s also based your family’s schedule. Plan for going out to eat too because it’s also easy to get cooking burn out when you’ve prepared meals for several days straight. Going out to eat is perfectly acceptable as long as you order items that are healthy for you. When you plan a weekly menu, you’ll not only save money on your monthly food bill (it’s much cheaper eating in than eating out), you’ll also be more likely to eat the food you’ve bought from the store and less likely to let it go to waste.

Consider using a chalkboard in your kitchen to list what’s for dinner each night. This is a fun exercise for kids to learn about food preparation, storage and healthy eating. Best of all they’ll learn the importance of eating to live rather than living to eat.

5 Ways to Combat Spring Fever

- Friday, April 29, 2016

                Ahh, spring. The days are longer, the weather is warmer and the temptation for young minds to stray from school and homework is greater. Here are some tips to help keep your kids motivated and engaged in their studies

One way to help kids stay on task is by helping them to set realistic goals. Communicate regularly about upcoming assignments and exams. Parents can help kids plan what they need to do to prepare and how much time they’ll need to finish their work. Breaking bigger assignments into smaller goals will help everyone avoid feeling overwhelmed. Schedule extra time for breaks or more preparation time.

Another way to help your kids keep focused is by creating a study zone. This should be an area of your home that’s quiet and void of distractions as well as the necessary supplies needed to complete homework assignments. Cell phones should be turned off or put away. Scheduling a time for homework establishes a routine and gets kids in the right frame of mind for getting their work done.

For kids, the last few weeks of school feels like time is crawling by, but we parents have a different perspective and know time flies. A wall calendar is a great way to keep track of important dates and deadlines. A calendar gives kids a visual of how much or how little time they have to accomplish their goals and what responsibilities they have toward meeting them.

All work and no play makes all of us dull. Breaks are important and allow us to release stress when we participate in activities we enjoy. Decompressing by exercising, watching a movie or playing with friends allows us to come back refreshed and ready to work.

Another great source of motivation is reminding your kids all they’ve achieved. By showing them a list of their accomplishments your family can reflect on how far they’ve come. Your kids will be able to see where they started at the beginning of the school year, how they may have struggled in math and how much they’ve learned since September.

Using these strategies, your kids will finish the school year, knowing they did their best which will make summer break that much sweeter.

We Can Never Have Enough of This

- Friday, April 22, 2016

“We need the tonic of wilderness. We can never have enough of nature.” –Henry David Thoreau

Take time this Earth Day to experience and enjoy the tonic of wilderness. Whether you plant a tree, vegetables in a garden or flowers, giving back to the Earth is good for the body, mind and spirit.

We can all make a difference this Earth Day in the following ways:

·         Write or call local, national and international leaders to phase out carbon.

·         Limit your meat consumption as the meat industry generates one-fifth of man-made greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.

·         Americans throw away a billion pounds of food each year. Turn your food waste into soil by composting.

·         Stop using disposable plastic.

·         Buy local produce and you’ll not only eat healthier, you’ll also reduce your carbon foot print.

·         Help the environment by reducing the amount of junk mail you receive.

·         Thousands of old electronic devices are thrown into landfills every year, polluting the environment. Recycle your e-waste instead.

Master Microvolunteering

- Friday, April 15, 2016

                With busy, overbooked schedules it’s often hard to find time to volunteer for anything these days. That’s the beauty of Microvolunteering Day. Now in its third successful year, Microvolunteering Day gives you an opportunity to take convenient, bite-sized actions, often from home, in support of a good cause. Write a letter to an elderly hospital patient or tag Internet photos to help the visually impaired. There are all sorts of short and easy ways to participate in active citizenship and get involved.

For a list of on demand actions, visit http://www.microvolunteeringday.com/volunteers.html. You’ll find opportunities for smartphone volunteering, playing games or donating your brain, where you can make a difference in as little as thirty minutes.


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