Our version of a “Happy meal”…Tightening our belts…Visit to a winery…

Here’s yesterday’s meal: bacon-wrapped, hard-boiled egg stuffed meatloaf made with grass-fed meat; salads with red romaine (cos), celery, carrot, and homemade salad dressing; sliced cucumber sprinkled with Himalayan salt; steamed green beans and broccolini;  oven-roasted zucchini; good-for-gut-bacteria probiotic sauerkraut; and my favorite low carb flaxseed and almond flour muffins topped with grass-fed organic butter. So who says “low carb” dining isn’t healthy?  (The red bottle in the center of the table contains homemade low-carb ketchup).

With a tremendous financial outlay upcoming over these next 12 months, we’ve had to carefully pick and choose as to how we spend our allocated budgetary allowances.

Subsequently, we’d decided to dine out on rare occasions while in both Penguin and the Huon Valley. After all, we’ll be on another cruise in 19 days which consists of “dining out” three times a day (if one so chooses) with generally great meals, all of which are specially prepared for my specific diet.

Our kindly landlords have encourages us to visit the garden anytime we’d like to pick the organic produce. What a treat this has been!

Tom has no trouble finding items he particularly enjoys even with his trimmed back agenda, preferring not to gain the former 4.5 kg, 10 pounds on each cruise. Instead, he’s entirely cut out toast and cereal at breakfast, bread with dinner and a multitude of sweet treats.

Instead of spending a fortune on dining out while in Tasmania, we’d chosen to take advantage of fabulous, readily available grass fed meat, organic vegetables, free range chicken and eggs and fresh caught fish for our home cooked meals.

Sliced cucumber, broccolini and green beans fresh from the garden added so much to our meal as shown below.

This upcoming Friday, February 17th, we are dining out, heading to Willie Smith’s Organic Apple Cider restaurant for dinner and the live entertainment (available only on Friday nights) to celebrate a combination of Valentine’s Day and my birthday.

Since the onset of our travels, we’ve celebrated each occasion separately dining at two distinct locations. However, this year, with our attempt at cutting back, we’ll only celebrate dining in one restaurant, having chosen Willie Smith’s after a recent visit. Please click here if you missed our story and photos.

What was I thinking when I took this lopsided photo of our hard boiled egg stuffed, bacon wrapped low carb meatloaf (made with grass fed beef)? 

After the upcoming dinner at Willie Smith’s, we’ll be sharing food photos, the menu options and pricing for our evening out. So please check back on Saturday, February 18th (the 17th for those on the opposite side of the International Dateline).

Had we not been cutting back to this degree (my idea, not Tom’s.  I’m the budget police) with the upcoming final payment due in November for the pricey Antarctic cruise (see the cost and details of this outrageously expensive expedition at this link), we may have chosen to dine out more frequently.

By-the-bottle, wine to go menu.

When we booked this cruise there was no doubt it would crimp our budget but we were willing to stretch ourselves for this once-in-a-lifetime experience. It’s one of those special events we decided to accomplish while we were still young enough to partake of all of the activities off the ship on the Zodiac boats.

Wine barrel display.

Adding the higher than usual cost of the 24 day cruise beginning on April 22nd from Sydney to Seattle, followed by the equally pricey cruise to Alaska on May 17th when we first arrive in North America before heading to Minnesota to see family, we stretching our budget to the limit. 

Adding the fact that we’ll be living in a hotel for six weeks in Minnesota, dining out for all meals, we expect a much higher monthly expenditure than our usual cost of living in vacation home in various parts of the world.

Locally made dinnerware and glassware.

Its easy to understand why we’d have to pick and choose where we spend our money in the interim. Dining out, for us, just isn’t that much of a treat especially considering my special diet. While cruising, the dining becomes more significant for the socializing at meal times than the food.

Many alpaca wool items are for sale at the winery’s gift shop.

When we visited the Home Hill Winery and discovered their upcoming special event as shown on their website, it was tempting to participate. However, spending at least AU 200, US $154 for the meal for two held little interest for us especially when we’ll have dined out the previous evening at Willie Smith’s as mentioned above.

Instead, we wandered through the winery taking photos at our leisure, reveling in the pretty scenery and their herd of alpacas, generally having our usual pleasant experience.

Diners can watch the chefs at work from the shown rear wall.

As an award winning winery, they produce wines offered at many Tasmanian and Australian establishments. Here a comment about their wine production from their website:

Dining outdoors on a sunny day is appealing at the lovely home Hill winery.

“The vineyard was planted out in 1992 with Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sylvaner grapes. The grey loam, high-clay soil and reliable rainfall provide excellent growing conditions for these varieties.

The Huon Valley sits on the same degree of latitude as Bordeaux in France (albeit forty-three degrees south of the equator rather than not. As a result, these regions share a similar climate, with winters featuring fog, frost, snow, and an abundance of spring rain. This allows for the slow ripening of fruit during warm months and the perfect conditions for excellent climate wine to be produced.”

Indoor dining area at Home Hill Winery in Ranalagh, Tasmania.

Of course, a highlight of our visit was the opportunity for us to see their alpacas. They offer a wide selection of products made with the fleece of these beloved animals. 

There’s an option to dine outdoors away from other diners.

The alpacas didn’t approach us as readily as when in New Zealand, most likely due to unfamiliarity of a constant flow of visitors. We easily recall how shy and hesitant the NZ alpacas were when we first arrived.

It was ironic to be up close with alpacas when it was a year ago we were living among them in New Zealand, an experience we’ll always treasure.

When all is said and done, we’re happy with our decisions for future travels and don’t ever feel we’re sacrificing quality of life. On the contrary, even on quiet days like today (Sunday), we find ourselves embracing every moment as a special gift.

May your day quiet day be special as well.

Photo from one year ago today, February 12, 2016:

One year ago we responded to a request from readers as to our favorite places to visit thus far in our world travels. We posted this photo of the Treasury in Petra, Jordan after a very long, hot walk. Click here for one of two posts. This sight made us gasp with our hearts pounding wildly, less from the walk, more from sheer joy! For that post with more favorite location’s photos, please click here.