January 16, 2019 10:16:46 AM
A couple years ago, Zack and I decided to stop giving our children gifts for Christmas. Sure, we still stuff stockings with lip balms and hair supplies, chocolates and an orange in the toe. But the piles of wrapped gifts became too much: too much to hunt down, too much to make equal, and honestly? Too much to pay for.
Instead, we plan a family trip. Zack and I decide the location, and the girls find out where we will go on the day we celebrate Christmas.
At first, we were afraid our kids would miss the trappings of the traditional American Christmas; where are the boxes, the bows, the piles of paper?
What we have discovered, though, is that our kids love it. Our middle daughter, Zayley, recently told us that she plans to continue this tradition with her own kids if she has any. Not bad for a measure we took primarily to help us hang on to any shred of parental sanity we have remaining by the end of December.
Theoretically, planning a trip allows us to spread out the financial burden of Christmas gift-giving over a longer period of time and pace ourselves accordingly. But let's be real here: those sales always suck me in anyway. (Curse you, month-long Black Friday deals!)
That's why this time of year is perfect for "rubber" meals, where I can cook once and the main protein will bounce back and feed us a second time. I have this idea that some of these meals could feed us a third time, too. It doesn't usually work out that way for us, but your luck may be better than mine -- or your appetite, smaller.
Cooking a whole chicken and using all the meat and carcass is probably the most basic of these types of recipes, but I also like using a pork loin for a little variety. These recipes will make a pork loin for the first night and fried rice the next.
Amelia Plair is a mom and high school teacher in Starkville. Email reaches her at [email protected]
SLOW COOKER BACON GARLIC PORK LOIN
Pork loin, trimmed of fat (The original recipe suggests a 3-pound loin. I get whatever is on sale.)
1 tablespoon canola oil
Salt and pepper, to taste (I use pink Himalayan sea salt)
4 garlic cloves, minced (I use jarred, minced garlic)
1/3 cup light brown sugar
8 slices thick cut bacon
(Source: Adapted from dinnerthendessert.com)
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 cups cooked cold rice
Salt and pepper, to taste
Frozen peas or leftover cooked vegetables, chopped fine
Leftover pork loin, chopped into bite-sized pieces
Soy sauce (or coconut aminos), to taste
Note: this recipe is very forgiving and is really just a basic recipe of proportions. I usually go heavy on the egg and light on the rice.
(Source: Adapted from hillbillyhousewife.com)