Butter

Butter – the everlasting delight of the gourmand, the faithful ally of the culinary arts, the constant symbol of good living.

Through time and across the globe, butter has had a sacred quality. From the ancient Fertile Crescent to the present day, butter has symbolized the powerful, life giving and sacred, the good, the happy, the healthy and pure. It has sustained lives, cultures and civilizations for millennia.

Butter is a culinary treasure as old as King Tut’s tomb. “She brought forth butter in a lordly dish” (Judges 5:25). A jug of wine, a loaf of bread – and butter! 

From –  Butter Through The Ages.

About a month ago my Mother called and was so excited that she had just made homemade butter and how easy and good it was.  I’m sure the ease of it was most of the amazement and surely reminded her of being the very young child witnessing the butter being made.  Making butter back then was not an easy process, not unlike so many of the other great things that take time and effort to accomplish.  Butter is one of the GREATS!

Fast forward 100 years to imagine me standing in the dairy section at the grocery store needing butter.  How things have changed….  But as I was standing there I remembered Mother’s conversation and decided to make my butter.  While I wish we did, we in fact do not have a milk cow or goats on our homestead, so my choice for cream (and milk) is Homestead Creamery. I feel it’s the best choice for us and also I believe you get what you pay for.

Being on a tight grocery budget this month, some would wonder why I didn’t just buy the 99¢ fake, yellow, plastic, artificially flavored stuff, and well, that is why…  As Michael Pollan says “we are what we eat, and what we eat, eats”

The question I asked myself in the grocery store was, do I spend $6 on butter and $3 on the milk that I wanted, or do I spend $6 on cream to make butter which would also net me some sweet cream milk after making the butter.  I chose the cream.

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Making butter is as easy as can be, however I will advise not to over fill the food processor as it will leak out all over the counter, making a huge mess.  Yes, that happened.

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All you do is pour the cream into the food processor and process for about 5 minutes then separate the butter from the buttermilk.

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The buttermilk can be refrigerated for later use.  Then you want to rinse your butter with ice cold water to help preserve it.  Pour ice cold water over the butter and press with a rubber spatula to extract as much of the liquid as possible.  I saved the water I used to rinse the butter and added a little dry milk to it and then added it to the buttermilk I extracted from the cream.  What I ended up with was a full quart of sweet cream milk that I can use in other recipes or just drink.

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I was so excited about the butter that I had to make something to spread it on.  I made some butternut banana muffins and some cornbread.  Those muffins with fresh homemade butter are out of this world good.  One of those Y-U-M moments.  And a glass of sweet cream buttermilk and cornbread… the only thing missing is a front porch swing and a breezy summer evening.

This was a fun experiment and I’m glad I did it.  While it didn’t take me hours to hand churn my butter, it did give me a little nostalgic feeling of living back in the day when things seemed better.   I’ll keep making our butter because the best part of it was the taste, so fresh and clean, which is the ultimate reason for doing it.

As for MMGC, if you’re keeping track, I’m now down to $10 to last me the rest of the month.  YIKES!  But, we have some great butter and pure maple syrup.

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Pancakes anyone 🙂

Till Next Time,

Lori

Quit Smoking Tips and The Pickle Jar

It was about 4 years ago when I tried to quit smoking.  I tried and I failed.  Then a year or so later I tried to quit smoking again, and again I failed.  I’ve even blogged about it.  Over the past 4 years I’ve tried and failed at quitting many times.  I’ve used the patch, I’ve chewed the gum, I’ve tried cold turkey, I tried and tried and tried and failed every time.

It’s probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  I wish I had listened to my father when he said  “don’t ever start and you wont have to stop”

It is true, you have to want to quit and I remember someone saying that to me years ago after one of my failed attempts.  It pissed me off.   What did she know, she didn’t smoke, so she didn’t know how hard it is to quit.  But, she was right.  There is a lot of truth to what she said.  You have to want it more than wanting to smoke.  To the point that you are just really sick of smoking.  Just sick and tired of the smoke, the smell and the expense (how stupid is that).  Just flat out sick and tired of it!  Every smoker I know “wants to quit”   But it takes more than that because the pull is so strong, and the mind will play tricks on you, and the whole thing is a struggle.  Look up side effects of quitting smoking, the shit is real and it’s not easy!

Anyway…..   I got off on a little tangent there, sorry….   I had gotten to the point where I was enjoying lighting a cigarette and taking the first couple pulls and then it seemed like the cigarette smoked me.  I had become sick of smoking.  But it was the habit of smoking that was hard to quit.  I honestly did not think my car would start without lighting a cigarette.  Have a glass of wine, light a cigarette.  Cooking hasn’t been the easiest either, because I timed my cooking around how long it took to smoke a cigarette.  Put something in the oven, have a cigarette.  Boil some pasta, have a cigarette.  To my surprise my car did start without a smoke and now when I’m in the car I listen to books on cd to occupy the time.  I use the kitchen timer a lot more now when I’m cooking, and I’ve put down the wine glass because my taste for it has changed since quitting.  However, I do enjoy a ice cold Corona with lime now, but I’m watching my calories, so now I’m enjoying vodka and seltzer water with a squeeze of lime, 90 calories baby.

I honestly believe that I have kicked it this time.  So, what’s different this time?   The pickle jar is what’s different.  See, I had this large empty pickle jar in my basement.  I dusted it off and attached a weekly chart showing the amount of money I would save by not smoking.   Each week I have been putting that money in the pickle jar.  It is such a motivation for me to actually see that money saved.  If I hadn’t started the pickle jar I know the money would’ve gotten absorbed into other spending and I wouldn’t actually “see” the money.  I like money a lot more than I like smoking!

 

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Sure, I still get a craving every now and then for a cigarette, but it passes quickly and when that happens I just say out loud “It’s Not An Option”   The Z Man quit smoking too and we are both breathing fresh air and loving it.

Yes the pickle jar still smells a bit like pickles, but that’s better than smelling like cigarette smoke!

Till Next Time,

Lori

Homestead Life

It has taken me a while to get comfortable with thinking of us as homesteaders.  The reason I suppose is because we both still work outside the home for our income, we also rely on electricity, gas and other technologies to live our daily lives.  I am writing a blog and taking pictures with a smart phone, lap top and sometimes even a tablet.  I have a hard time considering those things “homestead” materials.  But that just goes to show that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

People sometimes ask if we are preppers in a tone that is to assume we are in some way preparing for a zombie apocalypse.  That’s the all or nothing way of thinking.  I think if we felt like we had to do any of this (to be prepared for something) it would take the joy out of it for us.

It’s really just a simple matter of the Z Man and I wanting to live a better life, eat “real” food and get away from all the consumerism, the waste and the Jones’s lifestyle.  We plant our gardens thinking about what we like to eat and how much we will need to get us through until next years planting season.  It’s really just for the food, that’s it.

And, I have to say that after listening to Michael Pollan’s book on cd  The Omnivore’s Dilemma and watching his television series Cooked, I have a new and better perspective of how I want to live and what I want to put in my body.  If you haven’t had the opportunity to hear what he has to say, then you really should.  It puts things in a very different perspective.

Here are a few of the things we do mainly because we like saving money.

 

  • We raise two good size gardens every year
  • We “put up” (canning, freezing or preserving) those garden harvests
  • We have chickens
  • We raise pigs (for food) and process them ourselves
  • We cook most all of our meals from scratch
  • We heat our home with a wood stove from wood that the Z Man cuts and chops himself
  • We fix or recycle as much and as often as we can
  • We use a clothes line to dry our clothes
  • We prefer to live a simple life
  • We spend less than we earn and we save as much as we can
  • We do our best not to waste
  • We reuse, repurpose and recycle
  • We often barter for services or goods when we can

 

No we don’t have a huge plot of land and we do pay a mortgage for the couple of acres we live on.  But, to be able do these things and live a simple life you don’t have to have acres and acres of land farming large plots of grains or livestock.  Homesteading is a lifestyle.  We try to live life as much as possible by the things we can do for ourselves.  There are no specific requirements to do that, other than to try to be as self sustainable as possible.  I said a simple life, that doesn’t mean “easy life”

 

We are looking forward to Spring.  Hopefully the weather will let up a bit because it has been a very wet fall and winter and the ground is saturated.  But with the first warm, dry days we will be playing in the dirt, getting the pig pen ready and hopefully starting our bee hives.  I’m really looking forward to that.

If this lifestyle that makes us happy also makes us homesteaders then I’m good with that.

Till Next Time,

Lori

 

 

Turn Your Waste Into Want

I used to do a post on Wednesday’s called Wednesday Waste.  But honestly I have gotten so particular about waste, I mean to the point where the Z Man gives me the side eye and just grins, and I know he is thinking “what is she doing now”.  It got to the point where I really didn’t have much to talk about in the waste posts, or so I thought.

Kitchen waste in the past year has minimized because of our chickens.  They get all of my vegetable scraps, well the ones that don’t get tossed into the freezer for soups.

Anything that doesn’t go to the chickens or freezer and isn’t meat goes into the compost pile.

Anything that is safely burnable goes into the kindling box.

However, as with most things, there is always room for improvement.  I know I’m doing better than I was a year ago, but honestly, I’m just scratching the surface compared to some.  Take a look at the picture below.  This is taken by another Non Consumer Advocate follower.  She turns her chicken feed bags into reusable tote bags.  This is genius!  I fell in love with this idea as soon as I saw it and immediately contacted Dawn and asked if I could share it.  She takes 50lb feed bags and turns them into something reusable instead of them ending up in the landfill.  I love it!

This idea gives full credit to thinking outside the box and that there is always room for improvement.  The point of my Wednesday Waste post was to cut back on waste, which was fine, but now my perspective has been changed, thanks to Dawn.

How can I turn my waste into a want?  That needs to be asked along with how can I keep this out of the trash.  After all, they say one mans trash is another mans treasure.

Thank you Dawn for allowing me to share your picture, and giving me a new perspective on waste.

Now, I’m off to feed the chickens and make some bags.

Till Next Time,

Lori