Updated: Jan 23
Week by week tips & ideas to help organize your year.
Each week will contain an idea from each category:
Organize | Plan | Clean | Cook (Food) | Care | Beauty | Enjoy
January Week 2
Organize: Organize your pantry.
Plan: Books you would like to read this year.
Clean: Clean kitchen sponges,
Cook/Food: Prepare soups and stock then freeze.
Care: Check in on an elderly neighbor or friend,
Beauty: TLC for dry winter hands,
Enjoy: Gather for a game night, in-person or by Zoom,
Organize your pantry
For quick and easier meal prep.
Along with your new year resolution to eat healthier, it only makes sense to begin by organizing the pantry. Not only will this make your food preparing efforts much easier, it is also a great time to fill the pantry with healthier food choices, Here is a picture of my own pantry stocked with all of my favorite staples. The labeled containers hold rice pasta, nuts, beans, gluten free flours, cereals, etc... The bins hold onions, potatoes, other root vegetables, and avocado. I like to stock my pantry with cans of whole and diced organic tomatoes, coconut milk, and vegetable broth which come in handy for many of my plant based recipes. I also stock up on herbal teas, coconut water, and a few healthier snacks.
So this week, take a peek into your own pantry and begin organizing step by step. It will be worth every effort, I promise!
Organized Pantry Tips:
Take everything out and discard anything you won't use or is opened and stale. Then donate any unused items (you don't want) to your local food bank.
Check expiration dates and discard anything past the due date.
3. Replace bags of flours, nuts , beans etc... with containers appropriate for size. Label each container accordingly and group like things together on pantry shelves. Mason jars work very well to store bulk items such as raw cashews,
4. For rice pastas, quinoa, and other foods that require specific cooking instructions, cut out (or write down) the package directions and tape it to the lid.
5. Use a tray to hold small miscellaneous items that otherwise might get lost in the pantry. Samples, pouches, small bottles, and so on...
6. After everything is set and organized outside of the pantry, begin putting things back inside with your new organization in mind. Heavier items work well on lower shelves, as well as your bins with the root vegetables. Stock items you use the most work best when placed at eye level.
There you have it! Step back and admire your new pantry the give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done! Now sit and relax for a few minutes with a cup of herbal tea and a new book to read (see day 2).
Plan books you would like to read this year
And begin reading them!
If you are like me, you have a stack of books on your bedside waiting to be read. This year, lets make a commitment to ourselves to finally read them! I find that lists work well for me to organize my life. So today, I encourage you to plan your reading for the year by creating a list of all the books you'd like to include. If you need some ideas, below are a few classic favorites I think you might enjoy. Let me know what you are reading or if you have a book idea to share.
Moby Dick - Herman Melville (1851) A long read but well worth the effort.
Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens (1837-39) Persevere in the face of adversity
The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien (1954) Visit another world: triumph with goodness.
Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame (1908) Short read that is nice for families.
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Brontë (1847) Classic Romance in an era of duty.
To the Lighthouse - Virginia Woolf (1927) Find the meaning of life.
The Story of Ruby Bridges - Robert Coles (1995) A inspiring story of courage.
Clean Kitchen Sponges
Extend sponge life and freshen the room
Today I have an easy cleaning tip for kitchen sponges with is from my new eBook Green Cleaning. Did you know that the average kitchen sponge harbors about 10 million bacteria per square inch? Try this fresh idea to minimize bacteria and prolong the life of your sponge.
· 1 kitchen sponge
· 3 drops of Lemon essential oil
First wash your sponge using hot water and castile soap. Squeeze out the water and add about 3 drops of lemon essential oil onto both sides of the sponge. Let sit overnight. In the morning your sponge is disinfected and the whole kitchen smells wonderful!
Prepare soups and stock then freeze
Simply warm and serve
Now is a great time to prepare soups and stocks for freezing. I make ahead several batches of homemade soup and then freeze them in single serving freezer containers. Its so nice to quickly have a healthy meal on hand. Nothing is more warming than a nourishing bowl of hot soup on a chilly winter day.
Prepare vegetable stocks and freeze them in 1 quart containers, or in ice cube trays.
Making vegetable stocks are easy. Simply coarsely chop your desired vegetables and them to add to a pot with water (enough to cover the contents), add herbs and spices and bring to a boil. Partially cover and reduce to a simmer for about an hour. Strain, and pour broth into containers or ice tray. Let cool then place in the freezer. Now you have homemade vegetable stock on hand which adds wonderful flavor to your soups, stews, and other recipes.
Check in on an elderly neighbor or friend
Be their Earth angel
Too often our elderly neighbors and friends are in need of help, but go without simply because others are not aware during today's busyness. Sadly, they are often forgotten. The colder months are particularly difficult for someone who is unable to shovel snow from their walkway or drive to the grocery store or medical appointments. Sometimes it is difficult for them to prepare food due to cold temperatures and medical issues. Be an Earth angel this winter and reach out to someone elderly who may be in need of extra care. Below are a few ideas of how to help:
Stop over for a visit. Make sure they have enough heat and warm food.
When you make your next batch of soup, make a little extra to share.
When you bring over the soup don't rush away. sit and chat for a few minutes or play a game of cards. It will mean so much!
After a snowstorm, shovel their walkway, and /or offer to pick up groceries or drive them to appointments etc...
Spending time with someone who has walked this Earth a little longer can be a real blessing. There is a deep wisdom in their words when we take the time to sit and listen.
TLC for dry winter hands
Soothe and restore
Cold winter air along with heating our homes can be drying to the skin, especially hands. On top of this, we are washing our hands more frequently due to flu and virus season. For these reasons, hands can become irritated, raw, dry, cracked, and chapped. Ouch! There is no need to suffer endlessly with dry chapped hands as there is an effective solution to help heal and restore them; soft and rash free for the rest of the season. To ease dryness, help prevent cracking, chapping and/or infection try these hand nourishing steps:
Gently wash chapped hands in warm (not hot) water using a sensitive skin cleanser.
Pat dry with a blotting technique (try not to rub or pull the skin).
While hands are still moist spray on frankincense hydrosol. Let soak in for a couple of minutes. Frankincense hydrosol is very healing for the skin along with offering antibacterial properties which can help prevent infection of cracked skin.
Top with a layer of organic aloe gel (either directly from a leaf, or a purchased gel)
After the gel has absorbed spread a thick layer of moisturizing cream all over hands. Massage in well applying more as necessary. Creams that contain shea butter work well or consider trying Epionce Medical Barrier Cream as as listed in the links below.
Ease on cotton gloves and wear them for a few hours (or all night).
Keep this routine, and in no time your hands will be feeling (and looking) much better! For extremely chapped hands, repeat this routine several times per day, as needed.
Gather for a game night
In-person or by Zoom
Relax this week by gathering for a game night with family and friends. We often share game night via zoom which is a fun way to connect with those who are not nearby or for those who distance themselves due to flu and virus concerns. No matter what game you choose, make it a fun evening of smiles and healthy snacks. What a great way to end the week! Here are a few games we love: Scrabble, Catan, Boggle, Heads Up, The Game of Life, Trivia, Alexa Music Trivia, and Office Monopoly.
Have a blessed week my friends, see you in January week 3
Below are Amazon links to products and items mentioned in this blog post.