Easy Star 2 - Motor/ESC/Battery Recommendations? Build Tips?

I recently picked up a Multiplex Easy Star 2 kit, and I'm looking for recommendations and tips from those who have had some experience flying, building, and tweaking this plane.

Eventually I would like to outfit the ES2 for FPV, but I'm not quite at that stage yet. For now, my top priority is making sure the plane has enough power and stability to handle the constant winds in my area (about 15 mph). I know the ES2 has a reputation of handling winds pretty well, but I want it to be the best it can to avoid any problems. I'll gladly sacrifice speed and appearance for wind-piercing power and stability. Another hazard around here are trees - there isn't a lot of really open area where I live, so I need to be able to maneuver well enough to get myself out of trouble.

Of course, any other little insights and lessons from experience with this plane are very welcome. Anything to look out for? Any deviations from the manual that might help?