Work Your Spaces

O.M.G……..Oh Em Gee!

Does anyone else out there in blog-land get Southern Living emails? I have no idea how I got on this mailing list but check out this link on 10 Ways to Organize the Laundry Room.

For real? Did you see that last slide? If only I had that as a laundry room! I wish! And a laundry room big enough for an island?!

Here’s my laundry room. Fabulous, isn’t it?

The laundry room is off my kitchen. It is a multi-purpose room that also serves as a pantry and keeper of cleaning supplies. Not a whole lot of chances for turning it into some dream room. This looks messy, but it’s actually tidy.

Shelves serve as a pantry as you first walk in the small room. You may have even noticed boxes of food over the hanging clothes next to the washer and dryer. I definitely utilize every space. That is for sure.

One of my favorite  organizing tips I got from a friend: buy a large high-quality basket and use it to store a large volume of lunch-sized chip bags.

Behind the door is my “ironing center”- LOL. That just makes me laugh. As much as I dislike ironing, I’m sure having a special place for it wouldn’t make much difference. If you noticed in the first picture I also have a steamer, which I do use occasionally. It’s way easier to use than an iron and board. You can also see here more food storage.

The left side of the room has cabinets. The bins on the countertop store dog and cat food, respectively.

Bottom cabinets primarily hold Tupperware and the like, along with some odds and ends, including hurricane lamps and candles and emergency supplies.

The upper cabinets is where I store my cleaning supplies, dust rags, and laundry supplies. In the next cabinet there is also a shelf filled with washable to-go cups with lids for taking a drink on the go, or for that occasion when I allow popcorn and a drink to be taken upstairs for family movie night. I abhor open containers and glasses of drinks anywhere but at the table…too messy!

It may not look like much, and truth be told I would love a makeover, but many of us don’t have that luxury so you work with what you’ve got. As for my family, we live in a parsonage. Most parsonages are nice, though the furniture tends to be outdated. There are several pieces we’ve replaced in the time we’ve been here and I will hate to move away from them some day. I picked them out and treat them as my own. But still there are other pieces that in time really should be replaced. You cannot tax a church treasury all at once when there are other, more pressing financial needs. We are, of course, at complete liberty to spend our money as we see fit, and in fact I have made a few improvements of my own.

Point being, unless you design and build your own house, or change specs on a pre-fab to your standards, then you are probably working within a house you bought or are renting that isn’t 100% to your liking. You have to utilize your spaces, organize and decorate the best you can, and work with what you’ve got. That’s what I’ve tried to do. And if any of you readers out there have any great tips, please share. I’d love to hear them and see what I could use.

And the dream laundry room? Well….maybe someday :)

Oops! I meant to save the draft instead of post. Oh well….3 posts for you today!

The Day the Christmas Tree Died

I hope you didn’t miss post #1 for today: Ratatouille!

In years past I have left my Christmas decorations up until after New Years. In fact, I would usually tackle the job as soon as New Years Day had passed as if to say, the season is now over, you may return to your dreary lives. Taking down the lights and the decorations is so depressing. There is something finalizing about setting your house back into post-Christmas order, which is in fact, let’s face it, colorless and dreary compared to the twinkle glow and festive decorations. My house always looks so bare.

Goodbye little wreath

I don’t drag my feet for this reason alone. In fact I’d just as soon get it all out and tidied up as soon as possible. It’s the work I dread. Packing everything away neatly and organized is a chore indeed, but I appreciate it all the same when the next Christmas season hits and I don’t have to sort through a messy box of broken bits.

Goodbye Santa on bended knee

It’s not New Years yet, I realize I still have time. Truth is I will most likely wait until next week when the boys are back in school and I have the house to myself. Then I will lug all the Rubbermaid totes down from the attic, fill them up, and then lug them back up the stairs until next year.

Goodbye stockings all in a row

Does anyone else ever feel sort of strange between Christmas and New Years? It’s like limbo in a way. It is still part of the Christmas season, but it doesn’t always feel as much. We’re all just lounging around this week trying to recover from Christmas indulging in order to stuff ourselves with New Years fare and football.

Goodbye Christmas glow

I spoke to a friend at length on the phone today. Conversations like this are rare in the life of a busy mom, and this particular mom has 6 kids. She asked me what I was up to today and I had no real answer for her. In fact, I realized it’s already Friday and I hadn’t known what I was doing all week! Part of me is feeling guilty for not being more motivated, but then I think…motivated to do what? How many opportunities do we busy moms get to lay back for a whole week with no real agenda? Other than cooking, cleaning, and some laundry, why should I worry about not having anything pressing on my calendar?

I hope you are truly enjoying your time of rest and respite before 2012 approaches. Count your blessings and be glad in them.

P.S. You are familiar with the story Goodnight Moon…. Well, I recently came across a Christmas version called A Christmas Goodnight.


Ya’ll remember the animated movie Ratatouille? Ever since I watched that for the first time I’ve wanted to make ratatouille. Not just any ratatouille, but that ratatouille. And apparently I’m not the only one. In my search for this recipe I came across many images and recipes on Google. I choose one from a blog called opensourcefood. Since this is someone else’s recipe I will not repost it here but have provided a link so that you may check out the recipe for yourself if you wish. But I did make it and here are the results!

Base Sauce

In my usual way I did tweak one thing about this recipe. The sauce wasn’t really all that…saucey, so I added about 5 oz. V8 juice and puree’d it.

I love this slicing gadget from Pampered Chef

Zucchini, Yellow Squash, Eggplant, and Tomato

The recipe calls for Japanese Eggplant. I am not sure what that even is? Out here on the island there are slim pickings, so I used a regular purple eggplant. Also, for the sauce it asked for shallots. No such luck in my grocery store. So a bunch of green onions did the trick.


Cooked- Beautiful!

I served this with some leftover bulgur, and it was delicious! I ate a whole row :) I did give the boys a few slices to taste but they weren’t impressed (what’s wrong with them? haha).  Cory will be so jealous that he missed this!

I felt so good eating this, and actually I found that I enjoyed it so much more than I thought I would. If you’re a veggie-lover then you will love this dish!

So this made me think of something else a little bit fun. I love to cook, I love to eat, and I love movies. What could be better than some of my favorite things combined? I decided to share a list of my favorite movies that feature cooking :) Happy viewing and cooking to you!


Julie & Julia

No Reservations

I know there are many others, but these are my top picks.

Stay tuned for post #2: The Day the Christmas Tree Died


Food on Friday

Carob Chocolate Muffins

On a whim this morning I decided to make the boys something special for breakfast. I used Krusteaz muffin mix. If you have a good basic mix like this you can make just about any kind of muffin imaginable. Since it’s not whole grain though, I do not use it often.

How To Make:

3 cups Krusteaz mix

1 cup water

* Mix until blended

Add 1/4 cup carob or cocoa powder

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1 small to medium banana, mashed

Fill large muffin tins (makes 6- or one dozen regular sized) and bake at 400* for 25 minutes.

I must have taken 15 shots but none of the pictures do this muffin justice

SO, we’re sitting at the breakfast table and Jadon is eyeing the scrambled eggs on his plate, then he looks over and sees I am eating a bowl of multi grain Cheerios, and he huffs, “Why do you get cereal?!”

Make sure you go back and check out post #1 for today: Hummus ♥

Hummus ♥

You may be familiar with hummus, you may not. It’s a spread made from puree’d chick peas (or garbonzo beans if your prefer). It is very yummy and healthy, and a great protien alternative for a vegetarian. There are many varieties of prepared hummus you can buy from the grocery store, including red pepper, lemon, eggplant, cilantro, or spicy. In my opinion a good hummus needs no “flavors” –  but it’s all a matter of taste.

If you’ve ever tried homemade hummus you will notice the difference from store-bought immediately. I don’t like store-bought, mostly because I don’t like the tahini and think it is unnecessary. Greek restaurants usually serve it as a pre-cursor to your meal, sort of like getting a bread basket at other places, or at the very least will be available somewhere on the menu.

Back in my single days I worked as a waitress in several Greek restaurants, one of which I learned their hummus recipe. It was my job to come in each morning and prepare enough hummus for the entire day. At this restaurant we gave each table small ramekins of hummus with toasted pita points as soon as they were seated. Back in those days I was opening huge, industrial sized cans of chick peas. These days I make my hummus one 15 oz. can at a time. As usual I have no measurements, but I promise you will never look at that store-bought hummus the same again.

15 oz. can of garbanzo beans


lemon juice

garlic, diced or chopped fine

salt & pepper

Food processor

Drain the beans and put into the processor. As you add ingredients you will need to taste the mixture. The hummus should be yellowish-beige in color and smoothish when done. The lemon, salt, pepper, and garlic are all flavorings. I like mine very garlicky, so you will be adding and tasting to your liking. The oil is the primary ingredient for that creaminess.

My food processor is a mini one, perfect for making hummus one can at a time. After putting in the beans, I’ll add about a T. of prepared crushed garlic, and a  teaspoon each of salt and pepper. The lemon juice is trickier. I’ll start out with maybe a teaspoon. If you’re using juice from a plastic lemon then squirt for 5 seconds (how’s that for a measurement?) Basically you want each ingredient to have it’s stamp but not to over power the overall flavor of the hummus. Then I pour in about an inch of oil, turn on the processor and start to puree the mixture. Use a scraper to get all the beans pureed and then taste. If it’s not creamy enough then you need to add more oil, which you almost always do (maybe a teaspoon or two, that’s all) .

Hummus is best when refrigerated for a bit so that it can chill and the flavors can blend. Also it will have an oily taste at first and chilling it will remove that. So don’t judge it right out of the food processor. Among pita bread, veggies dipped in hummus is healthy and yummy. It’s also great to add to quesadillas, turkey wraps, or as the main protien in a sandwich.

Fresh pita points taste amazing with this dip. I use flatbread (wheat), brush a little olive oil over the top, and put under 350* for just a few minutes until warmed through and slightly toasted around the edges. Cut into wedges and enjoy!

Look for post #2 today: Carob Chocolate Muffins!

Oven Baked Tuna Tenderloins

Hubby and Number One went off-shore fishing last week and caught several ahi tuna and yellow fin tuna. They brought back 4 huge freezer bags each with at least 6 big  tenderloins. We eat lots of fresh fish around here. My favorite is salmon (I am originally from Seattle after all), but since you can’t get that here we eat a lot of tuna, blue, and spanish mackerel. There are way more species around here, like tile, shark, flounder, etc. All white fish. All very tasty. If you’re a fish eater this is heaven. If you’re not, well, this may not be the post for you. Sorry.

I have A LOT of fish in my freezer. It will keep for a while so I’m not in any hurry to cook it all up. But yesterday I did defrost a bag, which yielded 6 or 7 huge pieces. I cooked 3 for me and the boys when 2 would have been plenty. But it never hurts to have extra cooked and ready to go in the fridge for a healthy meal.

Oven Baked Tuna Tenderloins

I put three of the pieces on a baking sheet, drizzled olive oil, salt, and lime pepper seasoning. Then I popped them into the oven at 350* for about 20 minutes. A good rule of thumb is 10 to 15 minutes per inch. I flipped the pieces over and gave them a few extra minutes. This cooked the fish all the way through, which is how my boys eat it. If you like it a little pink then it would only cook for 15 minutes, or less, depending on how raw you like it. But at that point it would be best to just roll it in sesame, sear it and serve with soy. That’s how I like it.

Out of the oven, squeeze a little fresh lemon juice on it. Serve over bulgur with a salad or a green veggie. Very healthy and super yummy.

Now what to do with the remaining pieces in my fridge? Waste not, want not. In my effort to also watch my budget, I would be a fool to not utilize every bit of this super healthy and free protein. And I have the perfect recipe – I’ll give you a hint ;)

Oh yeah :)

Back in the Saddle

If you’re anything like me you may not be feeling all that great. Even though there were days I tried really hard to be healthy, for the most part I’ve indulged, and these past 3 weeks are showing. I can always tell when I’ve put on pounds, and ironically enough it wasn’t during the cruise of 24-hour available food and treats, but since I’ve been home and partaking of the holiday season.

On the cruise I made myself walk everywhere. I think I took the elevators only 2 or 3 times, instead opting for stairs and that increasing count on my pedometer. I felt good the day I walked off that boat and headed fo home. But since then I’ve been to 4 parties and at least 3 other community events that included lots of food. Not to mention the traditional baking and the treats given to us by friends and neighbors. There was more than we could eat, and some of it has made its way into our freezer.

There are some things I don’t eat regardless, like pork. Other things like white bread I eat sparingly, and white sugar I seem to eat quite a bit of during the holidays, though normally I stick to organic or natural. Now that it’s all said and done I don’t feel so hot. In fact, on Christmas Day as I looked around my kitchen laden with goodies still yet to be consumed, there was no power on earth that could move me to eat even one bite. All I wanted was pure, primal foods.

Have you ever craved sugar? More often than not what it really means is your body is craving protien. Sometimes thirst is mistaken for hunger, which is why many people (including me) have been known to eat when not really hungry. But what if you are craving vegetables and beans? I believe that means your body is trying to say Give me vegetables and beans, lady!

If you are not from the South you may not be familiar with the New Years tradition of cooking a large pot of black eyed peas. In many cases people add sausage, and then they portion it out and give to friends and family as gifts of good luck for the new year. I never heard of this until I married a Southern boy, and indulged in the practice for a few years. Actually, I indulged him as he made the peas. My hubby is a bean-eater all the way, but after watching people give us just as much as we were giving away, I put a stop to all the trading.

Now that we don’t eat pork anymore we are just as happy with a pot of beans seasoned in chicken broth and garlic powder. On Christmas night I set a pot of beans to soak because I was craving vitamins and minerals, and Cory got all excited at the prospect of black eyed peas. Needless-to-say he ate up almost the whole thing. So to the store I will go to buy more dry beans and peas.

As part of my cleansing, primal-like diet, I am staying away from all things processed. Yesterday I ate salad, sweet potato, banana, apple, black eyed peas, and lentil soup. I do still use bottled dressing and a 35 calorie wedge of Laughing Cow light Swiss with the apple, and 2 Hershey’s Kisses, but you can’t have expectations that are going to fail, so if you plan to make a change then I suggest you keep it real. This isn’t a “diet” by loose terms. It’s a cleansing that eventually turns into an eating habit, or lifestyle. I’ve done this before and have gotten terribly off track in the past few years. Also, if you are still eating white breads, pasta, rice, and sugars, then you need to start off a bit more slowly than I and begin by changing over those things to whole wheat, whole grain, browns and all natural versions.

So here’s my list of what I’m allowed to eat for the next week. It seems a little extreme, but I know my body and how my psyche works, so I must start off strict and then decide how to proceed the next week. Small goals are attainable. Long term goals usually fail because people realize they have bitten off more than they can chew and then they just give up. My plan is to feel better initially and then work myself back into my exercise regime.

Brown or Wild Rice, dried peas and beans, sweet pototoes (a perfect yam requires no butter or anything), all veggies, fruits (except high-sugars like oranges, too much acid, too), protiens such as chicken, turkey, and fish, canned albacore tuna, veggie soups (protiens can be added), bulgur, barley, quinoa, eggs, gardineira (this goes well with so many things), air-popped popcorn, raw nuts and seeds, hummus.

There is no bread, pasta, dairy,or potatoes other than yams on this list. That doesn’t mean I should completely deprive myself, but at least in the first week I should be able to obstain. Later on I can slowly introduce very small amounts of dairy (like yogurt and cottage cheese), whole grain bread and wheat pasta if I really crave it. I do love bread, so that will be hard.

It’s also a lot easier to stay on track when healthier foods are readily available. I’m prone to grabbing a piece of junk food just because it’s convenient. So I will be in the kitchen today cooking up some sweet potatoes, more beans, and my hummus, which I will share the recipe with you tomorrow, all to keep handy in the fridge for eating.

Other good tips: eat small portions, about 300-400 calorie meals each, 5 or 6 times a day. Drink half your weight in ounces of pure distilled water every day. That means if you weight 150 lbs. then you should be drinking 75 ounces of water a day. You won’t have time or be thirsty enough for that diet soda which you shouldn’t be drinking anyway. Use onion and garlic powder, dill, thyme, marjoram, and all other herbs for seasoning. Use only extra virgin olive oil. If you don’t like raw veggies then toss with EVOO, salt and pepper, whatever seasonings you like and roast at 375* until cooked to your liking.

My first goal is to fit into my New Years dress and look good. I only have 6 days left. After that I will set a new goal for Jan. 6th, and so on. Why Jan. 6th you ask?  Because my husband left for his annual mission trip to South Africa and he will be returning on the 6th. I’m aiming for an extra special homecoming :) and in the meantime I ask for your prayers of covering over Cory and those he has gone to serve.

Bless you and goodluck in all your endeavors.

Breakfast Pizza

Whew! Another Christmas Day come and gone. As much as I love this time of year I am always glad when the anticipation has past for the kids. For many this means the end of the Christmas season. For others it is at New Years. But still for others this is only another phase. The 12 Days of Christmas started only yesterday and will continue until January 6th.

Either way I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas Day with loved ones.

That’s what I call a successful Christmas. Two boys wiped out :)

Now on to the best part of this post…. Breakfast Pizza!

This is very yummy and easy to make and I like to make it when I have guests because it will feed many people. In fact, I don’t normally make this just for the 4 of us because it’s too much food, but it’s special enough for Christmas morning.

There is no recipe with measurements. The ingredients are:

1 cast iron skillet – 12 inches

Hash brown potato strings (I buy a 2.5 lb. bag from Schwans and use a little more than half)

18 eggs (a smaller pan could use only a dozen)

shredded cheddar cheese (usually a whole 2 cup bag)

Turkey Bacon (it’s a matter of taste what meat you use and how much. I used about 18 slices)

I find it easier to cook a lot of bacon at once using a pan and the oven at 350*

Heat up the pan with some oil and spread out the potatoes. Let them cook down and flip them occasionally so they don’t burn. You’re creating a crust-like layer of the pizza, but don’t worry if the potatoes are clumping. It will all come together eventually. The potatoes don’t even have to be perfectly cooked and browned. Turn off your burner and make sure the oven is preheated to 350*. Layer in the meat and cheese. I usually take the turkey bacon and crumble it up. You don’t want full pieces so whatever meat you use make sure it’s been cut or crumbled. Then I whisk the eggs with some milk for that fluffiness, add a little salt and pepper, and pour it over the whole thing. Place the skillet in the oven for about 25 minutes or until the eggs are set. I cover it with foil until the end and then allow a few extra minutes for the top to brown. Allow the pan to sit for a few minutes before cutting into the pizza. You can also easily add tomatoes or any other veggies you’d like. I’m the only one in this house that would like that stuff so I just leave it out.

As I do with most recipes I come across, I play with them to make them my own and do what works for me. So if you don’t have a cast iron skillet you could probably brown the potatoes and then transfer them into an oven safe dish before layering on the rest of the ingredients. It’s such an easy recipe that it really can’t go wrong, and the egg really holds it all together, so you may end up with more of a casserole cut into squares (or you could use a pie dish and still have “slices”). Also, I don’t have a reference for this recipe because I pretty much came up with it on my own, though I don’t claim to be the only person who’s ever thought of it, so no stealing of ideas was intended.

I hope you enjoy this yummy breakfast as much as we do!

December 25th ~ Merry Christmas!

On the twenty-fifth day of December my true love gave to me,

Christmas morning with my family.






MERRY CHRISTMAS! I hope you all have (or had, depending on when you read this) a wonderful Christmas Day! Tomorrow I promise to share my Christmas Breakfast Pizza recipe and pictures. Enjoy this special day with your loved ones and stop reading blogs! :)


Much love, blessings, and warm wishes to you from me,

~ Caprice


December 24th ~ Christmas Eve

On the twenty-fourth day of December my true love gave to me,

A church worship service on Christmas Eve.

My husband ministers three churches. On an average Sunday he is pooped by 2:oo pm, which is when he’s done preaching 3 sermons for the day and I have stuffed him full with a traditional Sunday meal. I only attend one church. It could be any one of the three, but still, only one on any given Sunday. I tend to stick with a certain church mostly because out of the three it was the one I choose to put my membership when we first moved to the island, and also because of the Children’s Ministry I am involved in there. A second church I attend often is the one across the street from our parsonage. It’s a beautiful church, and I tend to attend regularly during the summer because of the Children’s Sunday School program and VBS. It’s also the church I randomly go to when me and the boys are running too late to make it to the other one. The last church is my favorite. I call it the Little House on The Prairie Church. It is so picturesque and quaint. But services there are at 8:15 in the morning, and a morning person I am not. So consequently, I rarely attend that church.

On Christmas Eve, all three churches hold services, and all three services I and my boys attend. It’s a bit of a rat race. Once starts at 6, then the next at 7, and then back to the big one across the street from our house at 8. All three churches have a unique service of their own, and all three pack out with every person within the villages, whether they are members or regular attendees or not. The only bad thing about Christmas Eve is that by the time we get to the 8:00 pm service I don’t always have a spot in my own driveway. But we won’t get on that soapbox. Needless to say, as a minister’s wife, there are lots of things my family and I have to deal with, and overall keep our feelings to ourselves.

Christmas Eve dinner, once a cherished tradition, is no longer the event it once was. In days past I would create a wonderful meal in which I would lovingly serve on our fine china at the dinning room table, complete with a homemade pie of some type. The boys would pose for pictures as they hung up their stockings and put out milk and cookies for Santa. Later in the evening we would snuggle down for a family movie or a game night.

Now we eat pizza or some other non-monumental meal that I might have thrown together had I given it much time and thought. Like a casserole or something. There have been years that pictures of stockings and plates of cookies and carrots have been forgotten, much to my dismay. And though I enjoy the fellowship and church #1, the Children’s Christmas program at church #2, and the message and communion at church #3, I also sometimes resent the amount of time that is given to the church and our church families, and how little of that time is left for building and carrying on traditions in my own home.  And then I am humbled and reminded that Christmas is not about me and it never was.

This year Christmas is on a Sunday. Could Jesus’ birthday have come on a more perfect day? What better way to celebrate the reason for the season than in church, which is why you’re going to church in the first place. Well, actually, the flesh in me says yes, there could have been a better day…like Monday. How about Monday? Or Saturday? Take your pick. But Sunday? Come on, it’s Christmas morning and now I have to share that, too!? Well, actually, yes, yes I do.

But as always on Sunday mornings, I will attend only one church, and seeing as it will be a crazy morning, I will most likely attend the closer church which starts the latest in the morning. And I will still make my Christmas breakfast and hope I can get it ready in time for Hubby to eat with us before he is out the door to church #1. No one said his job was easy either, and so I certainly don’t blame him for the life the Lord has called us to.

To me these are a little bigger than the “small stuff” but to sweat them anyway would not accomplish much. That doesn’t mean I never get angry or frustrated, scream into my pillow and throw a temper tantrum once in a while, but in the end you have to keep things in perspective. I suspect that I clung to the traditions of my own childhood for certain reasons, but my hope is that my own children will find the same solace in these newer ones. It’s not about the turkey dinner, the pictures, or the plate of cookies. It’s about us being a family and worshipping together. It’s about the four of us spending time together and truly enjoying each other’s company. Maybe my boys will grow up and look back fondly on our Christmas Eve pizzas. I hope so.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

~ John 3:16  NIV