Can a great recipe contain only two ingredients?

The answer is yes! For our New Years “family reunion” this one will take center stage. It’s been time-tested and given the seal-of-approval by all. Here is a list of my recipe’s finer qualities:

1. It’s wonderful.
2. It’s easy.
3. Leftovers are demanded rather than endured.
4. Leftovers can be frozen for up to 2 months.
5. Cleanup is a breeze because it’s cooked and served from one pot.
6. Best of all, you will save lots of time with this one.

So here is my recipe for Barbecued Pork Tenderloin.

One large pork tenderloin
1-2 bottles of BBQ sauce (depending on the size of the tenderloin)

Cut pork tenderloin into several pieces and place in a large crock pot. Set crock pot on low heat and cook for 10-12 hours. After meat is cooked, drain liquid from crock pot and break pork up into small pieces. It will be so tender that it falls apart with ease. Add BBQ sauce, mix, replace lid, and let set for about 15 minutes. Serve alone or on buns.

That’s it. Preparation time is minimal, cleanup is minimal, and if you purchased a large pork tenderloin, you will probably have enough for 3 or more meals, depending on your family’s size.

From a time perspective, this recipe is a win-win. Little time goes into preparation, and the result rewards you with several additional meals that only require a few minutes of reheat in the microwave. And the barbecued pork tenderloin is absolutely delicious every time.

Tip: I usually let the tenderloin cook overnight. In the morning, it’s ready for the sauce. Rather than letting it set, I simply put it into a large serving bowl and refrigerate it until mealtime.

This year my family is going to experiment with an additional step just for the fun of it. Before placing the meat in the crock pot, we’re going to give it about 5-10 minutes on the grill, capturing some of the hickory smoke flavor before beginning the cooking process. Sounds good to me.




Making a list, checking it twice

My family loves getting together several times a year for what we call “little family reunions.” That means packing clothing, pet supplies, food, gifts, and whatever else is necessary for the particular occasion. This time around, we’re celebrating several birthdays (mine included) and New Years.

When my children were very young, I kept an organizational notebook with notes and lists covering just about everything life could bring my way. When it came time to pack, I simply went to my packing list and checked off each item as I placed it in the suitcase. Very little thought output was expended, and the secure feeling I experienced as we backed out of the driveway, knowing that nothing had been forgotten, was priceless.

My trusty notebook became a thing of the past during our last move. How I miss it! So, with the new year approaching, one of my resolutions is to resurrect the notebook, albeit electronically, and enjoy the comfort and security that I once felt.

But there’s another benefit to keeping an organizational notebook that transcends the feeling level. So much time can be saved when you don’t have to repeat the same tasks over and over again. It takes time and thought to create lists. It takes even more time and thought to recreate the same list every time it’s needed.

My list for travel looks something like this:

1. Clothing ensembles times the number of days away
2. Shoes for each planned activity
3. Dress clothes for special events, church attendance, etc.
4. Sleeping attire, house slippers, robe
5. Cosmetics
6. Soap, shampoo, conditioner, and other bath essentials
7. Laundry bag for soiled clothing
8. Laptop, flash drives, etc.
9. Day-Timer
10. Cell phone
11. Reading material
12. Pet essentials
13. Gifts
14. Snacks, food items for event, etc.
15. Glasses and sunglasses

Placing items in general categories works for me. I travel often enough so that collecting the items in each category has become second nature. You may need to be more specific when making your lists. Of course, if there is an item that I absolutely must not forget, I note it.

If it were to take fifteen minutes to write a packing checklist every time I traveled, I would probably be wasting 3-5 hours a year. I have better ways to spend my time and I’m guessing you do to.

Saving minutes, spending hours

I learned early in life the importance of compounding interest. Little did I know at the time that the same principal could be carried over into other areas of life. An example that sticks in my mind is from a chart I saw years ago where different snack foods were listed along with their prices. The prices were multiplied times 52 weeks, arriving at the amount of money that could be saved if an item were dropped from one’s shopping list for a year. I found its message persuasive and began to think of other ways I could apply the principal. A $3.50 bag of chips doesn’t move me, but $182.00 does!

Similarly, 5 minutes saved here and there hardly seems worth writing about. However, saving 5 minutes a day adds up to 35 minutes a week. Although 35 minutes stills seems unimpressive, 30.33 hours a year gets my attention. I have used “5 minutes” for my example because this small amount of time can be saved by anyone, even the most time-challenged person around. With a little thought, most of us could save a lot more time than that.

For me, time is a treasured asset. And the time I spend thinking about how to save more of it for the things I love is time well invested.