Saturday, December 11, 2010

Homemade Vanilla Extract

This is one of the easiest things I've ever made. Homemade Vanilla Extract. Who knew vanilla extract was basically booze and vanilla bean? Not me! I know the store bought has some sugar in it as well (not much) but that's basically what it is. This gift idea started last Christmas for me when I saw the idea somewhere online. I decided I wanted to make it as gifts for the next Christmas season so instead of making big bottles of it...I went to the NH Liquor store and bought a bunch of vodka nips. They were so cute and pretty (especially the really GOOD vodka) so I bought a bunch. It's pricier than buying one big bottle and getting a bunch of empty plain bottles but I didn't care. Kettle One is my favorite vodka so of course I had to get a bunch of them. Next was the vanilla bean...had no idea where to get it but I found some at Costco. Gosh, I love that store! Each bottle has a half of a vanilla bean (sliced in half and the long way to expose the insides-looks like 2 pieces). I'm sure you could put more but remember...this is my first try. Shake it up and close bottle and put in dark closet/cabinet for at least 4 months. Mine have been sitting for almost a year now!
Fun part is that as you use it, you can add more vodka to the beans to keep it going for quite a while! I've also heard you can use other liquors like rum as long as it's at least 40% alcohol so I may experiment for next years batch...yummy!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Mason Jar Yankee Swap

Well, it's that time of year...Yankee Swap time! The 4H Aviculture club XMas party is once again at my house this year and we always do a Yankee Swap. Here's what I came up with this year. It's not original but perfect for a Chicken Club! Mason jars are one of my favorite things so I bought a chick feeder at the local Agway...filled a mason jar (not the wide mouth ones!) and decorated it. Easy peasy! Cost with the candy was probably about $10.00 which is our limit for the swap.