The small, subtle hints of summer have crept in. First, it was the disregard for heavy, winter coats. Then came the reappearance of grass. Gradually, the sun started making casual visits, punctuated by wind storms and an onslaught of flooded basements.
But finally, the true sign of summer had arrived–an explosion of miniskirt wearing preteens donning flip flops and bare arms. Truly, summer was here, even if we’re still technically in spring and, at least in New England, still at risk of snow.
And just like that, we are darting about, fetching gardening supplies, making summer to-do lists, and fervently praying that our clothes from last summer still fit (or just saying “Forget it!” and dashing off to get new ones). Everything feels so full of potential. Everything feels so full of hope and life and energy. It’s like euphoria that leaves you light-headed and a bit drunk on joy.
We have plans! We have goals! We are on a mission to get splendid things done this summer! There are mountains to be hiked, camping trips to be taken, and new recipes to be tried! (And excessive exclamation point usage habits to be broken.)
But how do you make sure that you actually try all these new things that have caught your eye or do the things that never quite got checked off last year’s list? I am, by no means, an expert on actually accomplishing everything on a to-do list, but I will share with you something has helped me go from “planner” to “doer.”
Go over your to-do list. Are some things more time consuming than others? Are some going to take planning or a few preparation steps? And are some so time consuming that you’ll only get discouraged trying to get them done in a short period of time? Group your plans into three categories: Anytime, With Planning Time, With Lots of Time.
Anytime is going running three times a week. Anytime is organizing your financial paperwork. Anytime is reading The Fountainhead. Anytime is anything that requires little prep work. Grab your running shoes and go run. Grab your mountain of receipts and statements and file away. Grab your library card, check out the book, and begin reading.
With Planning Time (WPT) is making a chocolate pudding and cake trifle desert. WPT is scrapbooking your 8 week trip to Europe. WPT is selling all your unused possessions in a yard sale.WPT is anything that requires some planning and prep work. Find a recipe, go to the store, get your ingredients, and then you can make that dessert. Order prints of your photos, purchase travel-themed paper and scrapbooking supplies, and then you can create beautiful pages. Clean your room, put all the items in boxes, secure a date, make signs, advertise, and then you can have your yard sale.
With Lots of Time (WLT) is running a triathlon. WLT is designing a fun and interesting blog. WLT is cultivating a successful garden. WLT requires planning and lots of work over an extended period of time. It can’t be rushed. Traithlons require months of training (and Advil!). A great blog requires countless hours of Photoshop design work, coding, writing, editing, and marketing. A great garden takes planning, weeding, purchases of seeds or seedlings, weeding, tending, watering, harvesting, weeding, and fervent prayers for good growing weather.
(Yes, as you may have guessed, these are some of my goals for this summer.)
Once you realize that some things will take a little effort while others will take months and months of ongoing work, you can start to break those larger projects into small, more manageable parts.
With all this planning and doing, I suspect your time for spending time in front of your stove will be limited. So here’s a little slow cooker recipe to keep yourself fed while you invest your time in actually accomplishing your goals. It’s a soup that takes very little prep and will last you a week, and it can be enjoyed hot or cold. Enjoy!
Pork and Hominy Soup
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 whole Large Onion, Diced
3 cloves Garlic, Minced
2 whole Jalapenos-seeded And Diced
3 teaspoons Cumin
1-½ teaspoon Oregano
½ teaspoons Black Pepper
3 cups Cooked Pork, Like Carnitas
1 cup Roasted Green Chilies (canned or fresh), diced
¼ cups Medium Green Salsa
2 cans (15 Oz. Can) Hominy, Drained And Rinsed
Reserved Juices From Carnitas
1 quart Chicken Stock
Tabasco Or Sriracha Sauce (optional)
1. Before you turn anything on or start melting your butter, make sure these lovely ingredients are chopped.
2. Melt butter over medium heat and add onion, garlic, jalapeno, and spices. Saute until veggies are soft.
2. Add vegetables in a slow cooker with pork, green chilies, salsa and hominy. Add reserved juices from the carnitas and stock to cover. Cover slow cooker and set on Low for 7 hours or High for 3 1/2 hours. Add tabasco or sriracha sauce to your taste and serve with desired garnishes. Enjoy!
Optional prep style: If you prefer to do this stovetop, saute veggies as directed and combine everything in a large heavy pot. Bring the soup to a boil, lower heat to a simmer and cover. Simmer for 2 hours until flavors are well combined.
This recipe is from The Noshery, and I tip my ladle in appreciation of such a tasty dish.