This weekend we fell off the homesteading wagon. It was fun, I won’t lie, but not very sustainable or good for the bank account! I know we need to live a little but it got ridiculous. We were getting bored around here, being winter and all, and no wood stove to curl up in front of, and kids and friends running through the house, so we went out. I guess the problem for us is we go out and stay out! Friday night we went to a four star restaurant and ended up at a cigar bar. It was fabulous. Saturday night a surprise birthday party and dinner across the state. Sunday started at a coffee shop then we started reminiscing about our old Chinese restaurant we hadn’t been to in years and next thing we know, we’re out eating egg rolls. We made a weak attempt at leftovers yesterday and ended up at Subway. I don’t even like Subway!
So, now about two bills short in the bank account and a new week ahead, I need to get back to the homesteading mentality! I am desperately trying to save up for a homestead. I want one that I can buy outright. My entire being wants a homestead. I start to lose hope but then keep dreaming again. When we get to said imaginary homestead, we won’t have a full blown business like we do here and will have to pinch pennies in every way which I have been training myself to do. I am learning to make everything we need. So perhaps my winter evenings and weekends will be filled with a spinning wheel by the fire, the gentle hum of creating yarn. Or sewing some clothing articles. Or preparing a pot of soup. Or making candles and soap. Taking care of farm animals. Right now it only takes two minutes to check on the chickens and I am done with my “farm” chores.
Game nights are a great way to keep your bootie on the homestead and it doesn’t cost a thing to have hours of raucous laughter and competitiveness. Scrabble, Rummie, Chess, Balderdash, and Scattergories all wait in hopes of being played. I need to do this more. Doug and I alone can play a few games. Friends can be invited over for a mad game of something or other. Even the kids might want to play. All alone? Solitaire.
What to serve? Popcorn of course. I do not mean microwave popcorn or crappy popcorn from Walmart. I am meaning real kernels that came off of a real ear of corn. A bag of organic popcorn kernels are less than three dollars at the health food store and provide lots of nights of popcorn. (Organic is important so that we don’t consume genetically modified corn.) Now, here is where the culinary diva comes out of me. Jazzing up popcorn so it becomes a meal. It can be a meal, you know, corn is considered a grain and a vegetable and is high in lutein and many vitamins and minerals. And our other food group, wine, is amazing with great popcorn.
In order to achieve gourmet popcorn we need infused olive oils. I get mine from the Olive Tap ( http://theolivetap.com )because of the all the intense, yummy flavors that are ready at my fingertips in the cupboard. I love the Porcini oil, or the Tuscan Herb, or who doesn’t love Truffle oil? There is Orange oil, Sesame, Chipotle…and the list goes on.
You can also make your own. Simply put 1 part herbs to 3 parts olive oil in a sauce pan and heat over medium-low heat for 20 minutes or until fragrant. Swirl the pan often to keep the oil from burning.
Add a clove of minced garlic, 1 ts of basil, 1 ts of oregano, and a pinch of cayenne. Or 2 Tb of rosemary, a pinch of thyme, and sesame seeds. The combinations are endless and the result is spectacular. Infused oils take the ordinary homestead meal to a five start restaurant while not breaking the bank!
Now for the popcorn combinations:
Truffle oil and parmesan with a touch of salt and a glass of Chardonnay
Garlic and Herb oil with sea salt and Pinot Noir
Sprinkle garlic powder, onion powder, nutritional yeast (health food stores, tastes like cheese, high in B12), a pinch of chipotle and drizzle with plain olive oil and salt. Cabernet Sauvignon can stand up to this one!
Sprinkle basil, parmesan, smoked sea salt, and garlic powder onto popcorn then drizzle olive oil over it. Try a Pinot Grigio with this one or even a great red blend.
The combinations are endless, the results delicious! The price….saving up for a homestead cheap.