Saturday, August 8, 2009

The start of my homemade Christmas gifts

Making Organic Pure Vanilla Extract

So we all know you can pay nearly $5 for a 1-2 oz jar of this stuff at grocery stores and even then it may be imitation. So I got to thinking and did some research online and found several recipes and places to buy organic vanilla beans.

All you need is Vodka which I chose 1 Liter of Absolut 80 Proof Vodka cost roughly $15 at my local liquor store
The Organic Vanilla Bean Company I purchased 10 beans which were $6.95 shipped to the door.

Here is what you do:
When you get your beans take them out of the vaccuum sealed bag, take a sharp knife and cut down the middle but not all the way through, spread the bean open take a spoon and scoop out the seeds or "cavier". Do this to all 10 beans.
It is recommended to take out atleast a 1/4 cup of vodka from the bottle because the beans will let out oils and you don't want the bottle to overflow when you go to open it.
Place all the beans in the Vodka bottle and shut tightly. Shake the bottle and put in a cool dark place such as a pantry or a cabinet that does not get opened often. For the first couple of weeks take the bottle out and shake it up. Go ahead and give it a whiff, sure does smell yummy!
You will notice within the first couple of days the clear vodka turning a nice caramel brown.
It is useable extract after 3 weeks but the longer you let it sit the better it gets.
I plan to let mine sit until right before Christmas because I plan on giving either 4 or 8 oz bottles of this along with a jar of cookie mix to friends and family.
Once you are ready to use or give take a large measuring cup and place a colander with a coffee filter in it and pour the entire bottle of vanilla extract into it to filter out all the seeds and beans. Pour into bottles and enjoy!

The shelf life for homemade vodka can be well over 10 years.

You can use the seeds "cavier" by placing them in a muslin bag and putting it in with your jar of sugar to make vanilla sugar. I personally have no clue what I would do with vanilla sugar do you? Any other ideas on what to do with the seeds?

Total Cost to make $21.95
Rough cost to give as gifts in 4oz bottles $3.00.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Menu Plan Monday


Back to menu planning...atleast for this week.

Fried chicken breast, corn on the cob and buttermilk biscuits
Dessert-Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Green Pepper Meatloaf with either mashed potatoes or rice
Bbq pork chops, green beans and cheddar herb biscuits
breakfast for dinner
Smothered porkchops and mashed potatoes with gravy

I have to see what else I haev in the pantry for dessert this week, I know we have tons of Blue Bunny and Ben & Jerry Ice Cream!