I finally made some homemade vanilla extract!! I had been meaning to make it last year for gifts, but…it never got done. It’s sooo easy too!
All you need is some vodka and good quality vanilla beans. I used Smirnoff vodka and Madagascar vanilla beans. Speaking of vanilla beans, I ordered mine through Vanilla Food Company which is an awesome Canadian site! From the shipping to the quality of the product, I was impressed! Not only do they sell vanilla beans, but you can find a wide array of bakeware, packaging, sprinkles, candy making supplies and more!
Here’s the pack I got. It’s the 1/4 pound pack of Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans, which is about 25 beans. (The picture is after I opened the pack and used some.)
Now, for the vanilla making process.
I added three cups of vodka to an empty glass jar.
I then took 12 vanilla beans and cut them down the middle lengthwise. (pictured below) My ratio was 4 beans to one cup of vodka. You could use only 3 beans to one cup of vodka if you’d like.
Finally, I added the beans to the vodka. Done!
Let sit in a cool dark place for as little as 1 month. Shake once a week.
Here’s Day 1 of the vanilla making process
As time goes on, the vanilla will keep getting darker and darker. I think the optimal time to let it sit is about 2 months. I’m still letting mine “cure” but once I think it’s good enough to use, I’ll be stopping by a dollar store to see if they have any little containers that would be appropriate to put the vanilla in for gifts. For those of you that would like to make some Vanilla, I made some super simple labels that you’re welcome to download for your enjoyment! (click on the picture to print the PDF)
If you’re wanting to save some big bucks, it’s time to start thinking about making your own pantry staples and household essentials. Not only does creating your own stuff keep more money in your wallet, often times it’s better for your health! I mean how many times are you stuck reading a label in the store wondering what half of the ingredients are? By making your own essentials, you’re ensuring that you know each and every ingredient involved.
Creating your own products from scratch is simple. But to make it even easier for you, I’ve rounded up a list of 30 things you should stop buying and start making:
If your household is a fan of Italian dressing, this Italian Seasoning Mix is going to save you a lot of money over time! It’s perfect if you’re on a budget and you keep finding yourself buying the expensive bottles at the grocery store.
While this recipe is meant to be mixed up as a liquid dressing, I’m sure sprinkling the spice mix over veggies or meat would be just as wonderful. We like to use Italian dressing as salad dressing (of course) and even as a marinade for chicken! Hint: throw some chicken breast into a freezer bag, pour this Italian dressing over top, then seal the bag and toss it into the freezer for a really quick freezer meal! It cooks up well in the slow cooker.
I’ve been starting to use more beans around here because not only does a certain little person love them, they help stretch the grocery budget! I also love the fact that they’re filling and nutritious. Buying canned beans can be economical, but if you purchase dry beans in bulk, that’s even more economical.
While beans can be boring, they can also be super tasty to more creative you can be. I’ve rounded up 10 tasty ways to use beans that you’re sure to enjoy!
Sounds weird right? But you’ve got to check out this recipe for Cocoa Bean smoothie from Tasting Table.
Make Bean Dip
One of our favourite ways to enjoy beans is to make bean dip by layering refried beans, cream cheese, salsa and cheddar cheese in a baking dish. We then bake it at 350 until the cheese is all melted and bubbly. Here’s a recipe for refried beans. You could also try this Black bean dip, looks tasty!
In Chili and Soups
Beans are a great addition to chili and soups. Try out my recipe for Turkey Chili. You could omit the turkey and add another bean variety to make it really cost effective. This minestrone soup looks delicious!
In Taco Meat
Add beans to your taco meat to help it go further. Black beans are a great addition.
I’m sure you must know about Black Bean brownies? While I have yet to try them myself, I’ve heard others rave about black bean brownies!
Make Baked Beans
We’ve been thoroughly enjoying the recipe for slow cooker baked beans found over at 100 Days of Real Food. It makes a big batch so I always freeze the leftovers.
In Bean Salad
Confession: growing up, I would always pass over the bean salad. It was just not appealing to me (aka: gross). But now that I’m much older and wiser ;), I think I could get on board with eating some bean salad! I’m going to try this recipe first.
One of our favorite ways to use beans is in these Black Bean and Salsa Burritos. That reminds me, we haven’t made these in a while! Time to add them to the menu.
In Pasta Sauce
Did you know you can create a delicious alfredo sauce using white beans? You can! Just follow this recipe: White bean alfredo sauce.