Can we all agree that making friends with other married couples once you get married is THE WORST? It's hard enough trying to make adult friendships, but trying to make four personalities and sets of interests work together is a whole beast of it's own.
It certainly doesn't help that Josh and I outwardly have nothing in common- he's the automotive traditional guy's guy married to a creative free-thinking tomboy. It's rare that we find a couple that fits into the already rather strange puzzle of ours. He'll often make friends with fellow engineers or mechanics at work that have loads in common with him, but when we plan a double date with the wives, she and I have NOTHING in common and it fizzles out. Or I'll make a new friend that is creative and artsy, but her husband is too hipster for Josh to click with.
But that doesn't mean we don't try! We've simply adjusted the way we double date to prepare for the worst case scenario- running out of things to talk about before the plates are even cleared. Our new traditional double date is a casual game night and a movie at our house! Hosting an evening at our house is much more comfortable than a restaurant surrounded by strangers. We can be ourselves and there's loads of belongings spread throughout the house that can be icebreakers and conversation starters ("Oh hey! I see you have THAT book! It's my favorite!" or "Here's the pretty guitar I bought and never learned how to play. Either of you know how?").
We love having game nights because we find that people tend to show their true colors during a competition and we can more easily joke around relax. Even if the guys have nothing in common, they can connect over some fun trash talk and teasing. We don't have lots of games, but just one or two does the job and we find card games to be the most fun. And just in case games don't go as well as we hoped, we can move on to the movie portion and have a few movies to choose from that you can watch together in silence- no pressure at all. Most times we don't make it to the movie because we're having too much fun with the games, but that backup plan is always there in case no sparks are flying.
One of our favorite foods to serve for game nights is tacos. It's simple, most people like it, there are options to make it vegan/vegetarian (just in case), and you can have loads of toppings on hand to please anyone. Then you can set out some chips and salsa to go with the meal that you can snack on for the rest of the night.
Anytime we need something simple, easy, delicious and makes a lot of it, we pull out this pork recipe from SkinnyTaste that we've made so many times and never get sick of. I can get it started in the morning and Josh can pick up all the taco fix-ins on his way home from work and baddabing baddaboom we are prepared for a double date night at home. No pressure. Unless your house is a mess in which case you might need to plan ahead a little further...
Crockpot Pork Carnitas
Perfect for: Casual group gatherings & double date nights
Pair with: Tortilla chips & dips
Active time: 20 minutes
Total time: 8 hours, 20 minutes
NOTE: THIS RECIPE DOES REQUIRE SOME PREP TIME BEFORE IT GOES IN THE CROCK-POT. READ THROUGH THE RECIPE BEFORE YOU START.
2 lbs boneless pork tenderloin
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
6 garlic cloves, crushed or minced
2 bay leaves
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 cup chicken broth
Place the pork on a large nonstick skillet and rub on a light coating of kosher salt. Over medium-high heat, brown the pork on all sides for about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and place the pork in your crockpot.
Use a sharp paring knife to slice 1inch deep holes across the pork. Insert the garlic into the holes, rubbing any excess over the pork.
In a small bowl, combine the cumin, garlic powder, oregano, salt, & pepper. Rub the pork all over with the spice rub.
Place the bay leaves and peppers around the pork. Slowly pour the chicken broth into the slow cooker (try not to wash the rub off of the pork). Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. After 8 hours, find and throw out the bay leaves and peppers. Shred the pork using two large forks and combine with the juices.
Serve over nachos or in burritos or tacos. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.
NOTE: This recipe is adapted from SkinnyTaste's cookbook by Gina Homolka, one I highly recommend and use often