Lazy Holiday preparedness?

Good. Welcome.

Event season is upon us, dearest darlings. I have many invitations on my desk, most all requesting that I “bring something to share!”

I get it; We don’t want to do all of the work, we want to hang out with our friends and squish babies and we will have our hands full with that and in the other hand, a cocktail so…bring snackies!

The trade off, of course, is that we are fussing around, trying to keep things warm, keeping them looking appetizing, wondering if people are liking it, making picky kids eat it…Aaaaand not really making Merry at all.

So this year, I decided to find the easiest, laziest dead-ringer that I could. The sign up sheet went out, it was time to declare our intentions. With brazen confidence, I typed “Kalua Pork Sliders.”

Gauntlet thrown.

It was the best possible scenario; pick up rolls, pick up cole slaw (and doctor it up a bit with cilantro, salt and pepper) and a croc pot. It was bliss AND it disappeared. I left there with nothing but pride. ALL THE PRIDE.

I will mention that the other part of this particular invite was to enter a drink into the Drink Competition (which I won, ya’ll) and I made the pork and the drink side-by-side and they cross-pollinated in the best way:

Courtesy Perpetually Hungry Blog who suggests fried onions on top...What is there to disagree with?

Courtesy Perpetually Hungry Blog who suggests fried onions on top…Genius. Also check out the cole slaw recipe, which looks excellent.

Kalua Pork a la Fancy Pants:

  • A good, large amount of Pork Shoulder. Like maybe 4 pounds.
  • Hoisin Sauce. Hoisin make everything tasty. Use lots of globs on top-like half of the bottle. Using this, I cut the amount of Hawaiian salt that is added in half.
  • Clementines-3 minimum sliced into rounds and plopped on top.
  • 1 Tbsp Hawaiian salt
  • Garlic. I would start at 6 cloves or so because I am no wussie.

-Dump ingredients into croc pot, leave on low for 6-8 hours until meat is unable to be picked up because it is so tender, it falls defiantly out of your hands and shreds itself.

-Remove meat from croc pot, remove liquid and chill for a bit until the fat separates, remove fat. mix shredded pork and liquid. Keep on low until served. Watch friend and loved ones become ensnared by it’s hearty-yet-light goodness.

Can you believe how easy that is? Any event the weekend after Thanksgiving and I am making this automatically. The hoisin/ citrus combo is one that I fell in love with after trying the best chicken wing recipe in the world: Her domestic majesty (you needn’t bother correcting me,) Martha Stewart’s Spicy Sweet Chicken Wings. If you are looking for a backup recipe that people will adore, I would recommend this one, even though you need to be less lazy to prepare them.

spicy sweet chicken wings

That caramelized color is where it’s at. Courtesy; Martha Stewart Living

Now, I will be honest; I knew I had the cocktail contest in my pocket because this is my signature wintertime drink and no one in their right mind can deny it’s magic. Not even my mother-who doesn’t drink liquor. The same Aunt mentioned above was kind enough to share her recipe for Honey Preserved Clementines a few years back because they are stunning and I had to have them all to myself. You can put them in everything (other alcoholic drinks, non-alchy drinks,  an upside down cake or an icing…) and they will win hearts.

No. They will STEAL hearts.

They don’t stand a chance.

I call it the Tummy Warmer and it goes a lil something like this:

  • Ice in a lowball glass-crushed
  • A shot of bourbon. I used Burnside.
  • A tablespoon of Honey Preserved Clementines-Include a slice of clementine in the glass (even the rinds are edible. My favorite part!)
  • Ginger Ale to the top.
  • If you want to get fancy, add a smooshed Amarena Cherry.

The Clementines are the absolute easiest thing in the world; you cook them for 10 minutes on the stove, leave them overnight then transfer them to a jar.

Courtesy; Fancy Pants

Courtesy; Fancy Pants

*Pro Tip; If you really want to be the darling of the crowd, you could even bring a few of the smallest mason jars and let people take a few slices with syrup home.

*Pro Tip the Second; fiddle with the spices. Don’t be afraid. It’s the holidays, so you’ll have plenty extra. I love cardamom, so I go nuts with that.




Courtesy; Fancypants

This sounds like common sense, I know but we can all use the reminder. My Need. Want. Crave. posts are my own attempt to slow down and ask myself on a regular basis what I am really needing on a very regular basis and hopefully it inspires you to do the same, even if you aren’t needing or wanting ice cream in your coffee (who DOES that?) or crazy (awesome) house slippers.

Not that we judge those who do, thankyouverymuch.

So I noticed in the crazy busy flurry of last week; family, holiday and holiday-related events, that I was not pushing as hard as I normally do and that as a result, the things I chose to do were mindful, thought out and well enjoyed.

A while ago, we talked about How Many “Tabs” we are keeping open at any given time in our minds and how a little planning helps us focus on what we need to and keeps away all of those distracting, downer feelings of being overwhelmed.

Having a plan, even a loose one, for the big things in life and the small, does wonders for empowering yourself and combating stress.

I thought ahead about how much time I have, my level of commitment and level of fussiness (check out my Potluck Finest post for tips!) that I was willing to put into cooking and event planning and I came up with a plan. Friends, darlings, I am so happy to report that it helped me SO MUCH not to cry or lash out at those I love. In fact, for one family event, I won the cocktail contest AND I went in with 5 pounds of pulled pork and left with none. It was a “Tapas Party” (because it’s now a cocktail potluck.) At lunchtime. Every year. Tapas are fabulous, but I promise you; a cheese and charcuterie plate at lunchtime, mixed with vast amounts of wine, only makes my family hangry and after last year, Hubbs refused to come again unless there was “real food.” I cannot tell you how happy it made everyone for there to be real food there. There was dancing. You know the kind.

I planned effortless dishes and drinks that required next to no supervision. As a result, I was able to relax.

I did karaoke.

And that is all I have to say about that.

There is NO WAY on Earth that we can stop the barrage of life from coming at us all at once, but loves, comrades, brothers and sisters, we can plan. Let’s all try! We can have our ducks in a row, we can estimate what is coming at us and we can be that asshole brown-noser from school.

We can brown nose life.

It will not stop all stress or prevent us from being blind sided from time to time, but it will help us to enjoy the present. It will help us to free up time and since Winter is the time to be really gentle with ourselves, we will need that time to focus on ourselves.

Here are my usual “be gentle to myself” suspects:

Dog walks. Every day that I can, no matter the weather. The outdoors and the social interaction are the best ever for clearing the mind. Honestly, if you ever want to practice your networking skills, the dog park is THE place to start.

Acupuncture. Sure, I still tense up when she goes to poke that thin skinned place behind the knee, but I leave feeling great. Those 20 minutes when I am laying there like a pincushion are so refreshing. Not even kidding.

Writing. For you beautiful people and for myself.

Running. Currently trying to fit more of that in my life.

-Finding ways to spend time on my appearance. I would file this under “pride of ownership” and not selfishness. It makes a person feel a bit more confident when you are actively doing things for yourself. I thought it was ridiculous when a friend loaned me a book about maintaining my curls (whole books have been written about this! With chapters!) but you know something? It works. One less thing I have to worry about and it makes me feel pretty.

-A sleep ritual: About an hour before I go to bed, I make myself some tea. I wash my face and brush my teeth, I get comfortable. No electronics in bed, I call up the doggie and I may find something soothing on tv. If there’s nothing on, I may listen to the radio, reading is the magic bullet, though. I read until my eyes close on their own.

Most importantly, if you need this quality time for yourself, don’t make other plans. Tell everyone that you are busy, it’s not always easy but your life will improve as a result.

How do you get life under control?