Vanilla!

The things in life that excite me would bore a normal person. I know it and I understand it, but this is the way I am. Let’s get excited over little stuff!

I was on Pinterest a couple of weeks ago just looking through “stuff” and accidentally found homemade vanilla extract . Who would have thought you can make your own vanilla extract? Definitely not me. I checked it out and was amazed at how simple it is and the money I could save! Buy a bottle of mid grade vodka, ten vanilla beans and that’s it! I bought the vanilla beans from Amazon – ten for $15. I bought the vodka at the liquor store on sale for $10. I came home and made a slit in each bean to allow the micro mini seeds to set up in the vodka – but I did cut the ends off the bean. I put them in the vodka – there was a little overflow but not enough to consider it wasteful. I secured the lid and left that clear bottle of vodka with beans in it overnight. This morning it had a “tea” color, and it’s getting darker. I need to shake it once a day for six weeks and then I have fully fermented vanilla extract.

I did my research on this. Amazon has eight ounces for $25. Wal-mart sells one vanilla bean for $7 bucks. I made three and a half cups for $25 which saved me over $100 bucks! I think this is one thing in the cooking department that excites me.

And I have homemade bread! Now that one is for the books! I only make half a loaf because it has no preservatives in it and only lasts about three days before it gets hard as a rock. It started out as artisan sour dough bread, but there are so many types to make with the dough. I’ve made fruit bread, Asiago and rosemary bread, Kalamata olive and cheese bread and there is so much more to try. The half recipe is as follows:

1/2 tsp quick rising yeast

1 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups flour

3/4 cup water

Mix it all together, then put it in a cast iron pot (a four cup one works really well but line the pot with parchment paper), cover with a cloth towel for 8-12 hours. Bake in the same pot with a lid for twenty minutes at 425 degrees , remove the lid and cook for another ten minutes. Take it out of the oven and let it cool.

Like I said, for sweet bread add about a cup of dried fruit, about a third of a cup of brown sugar and bake it. You can do the same with olives and cheese and rosemary and so much more! It’s so easy and for me that is saying a lot. We all know that I am seriously challenged in the cooking department.

I had fun this week with these new findings and experiments. I just wanted to share and hope you might enjoy them as much as I do.

I did one more thing this week that is a little out of my comfort zone. I am now on Instagram! I’m not real comfortable with it yet, but I took a huge step getting on to some thing like this. I’ll let you know.

Photos will follow with the vanilla extract and the bread, along with a ghoul. Have a wonderful weekend. Count your blessings! Thank you so much for visiting.

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