Soup-Inspired Christmas Party

Not to brag, or anything, but I got right on that New Year’s resolution to host more dinner parties. As a matter of fact, I hosted one the night before that post was published (Ba-ha-ha. Delayed publishing. Just one of the many tricks of the blogger’s world.)

A few months ago, I offered to host my Faith Club’s annual Christmas party. At this time, our group was fairly small–we regularly had about 5-6 women. Well, over the past few months, as word spread about our group’s awesomeness, more and more people began to join us. We now have about 12 regular attendees. I started to get a little nervous thinking about all these people dining in my one-bedroom apartment, but knew I could make it work.

Luckily, a few people couldn’t make it that night. (Just kidding, ladies, we missed you!). It was a tight squeeze, but with the help of my mom’s card table and some borrowed folding chairs, we all fit around the table!

Looking Christmas-y

Definitely a tight fit!

I spent the day cleaning, setting up chairs, moving furniture, and cooking. I found some empathy for mothers who complain about their house not staying neat for very long. Every time I turned around, there was stuffing from another chew toy, dirty clothes, or tennis shoes strewn around the room.

It's amazing how much havoc two little pups can manage in such a short amount of time.

Looking guilty...

Since I have yet to purchase any Christmas dishes (next year, I’m snapping up a set of Target’s plastic plates early!), and my Fiestaware is about as far from Christmas-colored as possible, I went the paper plate route. (I know, I know. Not exactly fancy.) And, with nine place settings on a teeny-tiny table, there wasn’t much room to get fancy with the decor. However, I did dress the table up with some patterned napkins, and Christmas-y drinkware.

Notice the patterned napkins (and the paper plates!)

Then came the food. I decided to go the soup/salad route. I provided two soups, while friends brought salads, bread, and desserts. We ended up with quite a delicious spread. And, I must say, my soups were pretty popular. I made two choices–one, a veggie-based soup, and the other, a cheesy, creamy-based soup. (But, you know me–they’re both healthy and low-cal!)

So, I’ve decided to take this opportunity to introduce… (drumroll, please…)…

Sharing Closet Space’s new Recipes page

I plan to post about our hits and misses on recipes throughout the year, but I know it can be hard to find exactly the post you’re looking for when you’re searching through a blog. So, I wanted to create a resource for you. Come back to the this page any time to find recipes (or links to recipes) of some of our favorites.

All in all, I was very pleased with my dinner party. Yes, someday I’ll look back and remember how everyone had to sit in their chair at an angle because nobody’s legs could fit under the table. But that’s life in a one-bedroom apartment for you… and I wouldn’t change it for anything.

Hearty Minestrone Soup

Hearty Minestrone Soup

Serves: 12


  • 2 cans (18.7-oz each) tomato with basil soup
  • 1-2 cans water
  • 1 bag (approx. 5 cups) frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1 bag (approx. 3 cups) frozen zucchini & yellow squash
  • 2 cups cooked pasta (I used small shells)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • french fried onions (optional)

Combine all ingredients except onions in slow cooker. Heat until serving temperature. If desired, serve with onions sprinkled on top!

Nutrition information (per serving, without onions): 109 calories, <1g fat, 22g carbohydrates, 4g protein

Cheesy Cauliflower Soup

Cheesy Cauliflower Soup

Serves: 2 (I tripled the recipe for my Christmas gathering)


  • 1/2 C chopped onion
  • 3 oz. pared potato, diced
  • 1 C each, water & skim milk
  • 1 Tbs plus 1 tsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • dash each white pepper and ground nutmeg (I used black pepper and ground ginger–because that’s what I had!!)
  • 1 C frozen cauliflower, cooked until tender-crisp
  • 2 oz. 2% American cheese
  • 1 Tbs chopped parsley

In 2-qt. saucepan combine onion & potato; add water, cover pan, and bring liquid to a boil. Cook over high heat until potato is tender-crisp, 5-7 minutes.

In small bowl, combine milk & flour, stirring until flour is dissolved. Stir milk mixture into potato mixture; add salt if desired, pepper, & ginger and mix well. Reduce heat to medium and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until liquid is smooth and thick, 5-10 minutes. Add cauliflower, cheese, and parsley to saucepan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cheese is melted and cauliflower is cooked through, 2-3 minutes.

Nutrition information (per serving): 228 calories, 4.5g fat, 14g protein, 35g carbohydrates

New Year’s Resolutions Part 1

be less prejudiced

prej-u-dice /ˈprejədəs/ Preconceived opinion not based on reason or experience

So often we think of racial, religious, and sexual prejudice. Though the word is often used in regards to one’s bias towards a group of people, my trouble with prejudice is largely more personal.

Allow me to illustrate this point with a stoy…

One afternoon in the weeks before Christmas, I rushed off to Target between work and handbell practice to pick up a few things–namely, gift wrap, Play-Doh, and a book for my book club’s Christmas exchange. With less than 20 minutes to shop and get to church, I quickly chose the latest Lisa See novel, Shanghai Girls, sped through the aisles, and was disappointed to find only three open registers. I chose the shortest line–and quickly regretted my choice. The sales associate was an older, larger woman with huge, thick glasses. She had a nasally voice and was talking in a slow drawl with the customers in front of me. Each conversation seemed to go on far too long–every item she scanned invoked a story about her grandchild, or a discussion about the sale price. I considered jumping in another line, but at this point felt like I’d invested too much time waiting. Compulsively checking the time on my phone (and realizing I was, without a doubt, going to be late and hungry), I had certainly pre-judged this woman. From her appearance and the comments I’d overheard, I’d (unconsciously) decided she was uneducated, unintelligent, and just plain a hindrance to my busy evening.

Finally, it was my turn in line. I placed my three things on the belt and greeted her with a cursory “hello,” meant to indicate my hurry. Picking up Shanghai Girls, the woman commented, “Oh, this is a fabulous book.”

I looked up, a little surprised. “Well, good,” I replied, “I’m looking forward to reading it.”

“Have you read any of her others?” she asked me.

“Actually, I did my junior project on Snow Flower and the Secret Fan in college,” I answered.

“Oh, that one was wonderful. You know what else I just read that I really enjoyed? Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.”

“I love that book!” I gushed. “I just read it a few months ago.” The woman, who was so clearly the opposite of all the preconceived notions I’d made about her, went on to name two or three other books that are on my To-Read list.

“Well, honey,” she said as she handed me my back, “you come back and tell me about what else you’re reading!”

“I will!” I said. As I walked out to my car, amidst the other holiday shoppers rushing to and fro without an ounce of patience for one another, I thought about how that experience at the register had really put me in my place. Who was I to judge someone based on their appearance or their career? How unkind, prejudiced, and un-Christian was that?

I truly feel as though God chose my line at Target that Wednesday. Since that evening, I’ve thought of that woman often; I even considered returning with an invitation to join my book club, since I know it would match her tastes. So, one of my 2012 resolutions is to judge less, practice patience, and endeavor to see the good in people.