Courtesy of Lora Greco

PLANNING YOUR PANTRY Whether your pantry is huge or small, proper organization and storage techniques can really help make it a functional space that works for your needs. Start with an empty pantry as it’s going to be easier if you can clear everything out first instead of just moving items around. Once everything is out of the pantry, sort it into groups – cooking, baking, breakfast, snacks, etc. so you can take stock of what you have and how much space you will need. Then you’ll be able to determine if you will need to add extra shelving or storage solutions to provide more space. Shelf risers, baskets and lazy Susans can all come in handy if you’re worried about accessing everything you need. Once you have an idea of where everything will go, you can start stocking the shelves. Keep in mind weight distribution and ease of access. Keep things that you use every day eye level and lesser used items on the top shelves where they’re accessible, but don’t take up valuable real estate on the eye level shelves. Try using the floor for appliances that you bring out once in a while, like the slow cooker or wok, and heavy bags of root vegetables, beverages and cases of soup. Linens and other small items can be stored in baskets on the top shelves so they’re out of the way, but you can easily reach them and pull them down when needed. A final step to organizing your pantry is to label everything. It’s not necessary, but it does help to know where to put things away if there is a label telling you exactly what goes where. This is also helpful if you have a large family or others that visit your home and may help unload groceries or dishes into the pantry.

Roy T. Bennett is the author of The Light in the Heart: Inspirational Thoughts for Living Your Best Life. His book on positive thoughts has helped countless people grow and live fulfilling lives.


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INGREDIENTS: 1 package (11.3 ounces) pecan shortbread cookies, crushed (about 2 cups) 1/3 cup butter, melted 4 cups heavy whipping cream 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon coconut extract 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk 1/2 cup Key lime juice

1/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut, toasted Optional: Maraschino cherries with stems and sliced Key limes

DIRECTIONS: 1. In a small bowl, mix crushed cookies and butter. Press onto bottom and up side of a greased 9-in. deep-dish pie plate. In a large bowl, beat cream until it begins to thicken. Add confectioners’ sugar and extract; beat until stiff peaks form. In another large bowl, beat cream cheese, condensed milk and lime juice until blended. Fold in 2 cups whipped cream. Spoon into prepared crust. 2. Top with remaining whipped cream; sprinkle with toasted coconut. Refrigerate until serving, at least 4 hours. If desired, garnish with cherries and limes.

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