A Little Something Useful… Homemade Vanilla Extract

Have you ever been gifted a liquor that didn’t agree with you? At first taste, all is well, then like a bad date, leaves you full of regret with a monstrous hang-over? One of my friends gave me a bottle of vodka of said propensity. The cocktail made from this particular vodka was pretty smooth, so much so that I had another, complete with a full meal and dancing afterwards. The next day, I felt such a recourse, as though I’d been on a bender of cheap shots and mixed liquor all night. No thank you. However, when my friend gave me a bottle of the hellish vodka, I just smiled graciously and tucked it in the closet.

As the holidays approached, the availability of gourmet items like fresh vanilla beans were everywhere, yet the good vanilla extracts were SO expensive! Then it came to me: I’m gonna make my OWN darn extract! There’s nothing like homemade in my book, and with the hellish vodka, taking up space… why not put it to good use?

Now making vanilla extract is not an overnight thing. It takes the vanilla beans at least 30 days to cure. There are various methods to make extracts – you can use any high-proof alcohol of choice such as vodka, rum, bourbon, tequila or such; the alcohol does influence the flavor, as do the amount of beans used. I referenced this website to get me started: http://tipnut.com/homemade-vanilla-extract/ – which was really helpful. Generally, I fully endorse using alcohol that you would enjoy for cooking, but using the hellish vodka would be fine since extracts are used in small, concentrated doses. By the way, I decided to write about this after I’d embarked on my extract journey, so you’ll simply have to visualize the hellish vodka in it’s natural state – clear! So here goes:

Here are the vanilla beans I used – Generally 2 beans per pack; Trader Joe’s is inexpensive and quality.

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Split them down the middle – scrape the concentrated goodness into the alcohol

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Added them straight to the alcohol bottle – the sentiment at the bottom is pure vanilla! Shake up at least once a week, and let it marinate for at least 30 days – this has set up about 2 months.

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I just transferred the contents to this bottle which is much more convenient to use – As you can see, Trader Joe’s is my favorite store, and this organic maple syrup is love in a bottle! There were trace elements left to mingle with the vanilla.

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I especially like this top for easy pouring!

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This extract smell like vanilla heaven, and does not perish. It’s best kept in a dark, cool place. Next time you have a yummy dessert, use it!

Goodbye, hellish vodka. Hello, vanilla extract!

Have you tried this? What’s your experience?

Back on the Block!

Hello, World!  Happy New Year – 2014!

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 I have missed an entire year on this beautiful, budding space that’s mine, all mine. Where have I been, you ask? Well, I could acknowledge my rigorous school schedule at Harvard, my kids’ rigorous school schedule, my numerous health issues – 4 surgeries in 2 years, most recent was last month, (yay me) or maybe it was even my beauty products that, despite everything, is still in production. Yes, I could cite all of these issues as to why I’ve neglected my new venture, but I won’t. Instead, I will declare one social media space that I’ve allowed to suck up precious blogging time: Facebook. 

Now, now… I won’t exactly go throwing FB under the bus.  It has served me well in helping me to reconnect with family and friends that would ordinarily forget I was breathing, due to my inconsistency to keep in touch. That medium has allowed me to maintain relationships, share of my family, share in major life events that I would neglect to know about; even if to send a kind word to a sick loved one. For these reasons, as well as the amazing opportunities for businesses and personalities to network, it’s a wonderful virtual neighborhood to be in.

However comma – as my Dear Uncle Larry would say – It can suck. You. In!!! It’s so easy to get caught up in others’ minutiae, you can forget or lose sight of your own space.  I happened to check out another Blog – “A Belle in Brooklyn” – which is a great site by the way, from what I see, and wanted to follow it. So I try to log on. No go. Wait, this is a word press… I have a word press account. No go. What??? Do I not have a blog anymore?? All this time, I thought I could go back to blogging anytime I wanted to… (feverishly trying different angles to log on) Oh here it is… my blog. What am I, retarded?? This is my space. I love Bohemian Flux… how could I have neglected my most perfect forum, where I can address and share all the things I love dearly? Foolishness!

I don’t care to make resolutions. I think that for me, personally, the habit of resolutions are so fragile; so easily forgotten. (Like my blog. smh) I would rather put it on my ever-revolving to-do list: Spirit, Family, Home, Health, School, Business, Blog. It has to be prioritized for me to take it seriously. I will aspire to make this a weekly practice, but I won’t be hard on myself if I have to make it bi-weekly.  I will say, it feels SO good to write here again! 

What are your plans for the New Year? What do you want to do more of? What do you want to let go of? 

Salut! ❤

 

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