Wednesday, March 2, 2011

An Update and Homemade Vanilla Extract

I have been gone from the blogosphere for a while now.  Not by choice, granted.  It has been nutso in my neck of the woods.  Snow storms, tornadoes, kids, chores, farm, etc.  You get the idea.  I’ve been having a hard time with recipes, lately.  I seem to be stuck in a rut and when I do try to think “outside the box”, it’s been pretty gross.  Does that happen to anyone else?  I guess I need to get back to basics.  My family and I recently took a trip to Nashville, TN for a weekend; it was great!  We found lots of restaurants that we could eat at.  There is a bakery called Fiddlecakes that made us a batch of brownies when I called ahead and alerted of particular allergies.  They make their own gluten free bread and fresh sandwiches that made for a yummy lunch.  We also encountered Mellow Mushroom for the first time.  It was such a treat for all of us to enjoy pizzas together as a family.  We ended our trip with a visit to The Whole Foods Market to store up favorites that are unattainable in our area.  Lots of pastas, panko bread crumbs, snack bars, you get the idea.  Needless to say that we had our Expedition loaded for our trip back home to Kentucky.  My daughter also had her Immunocaps drawn for an upcoming appointment with her allergist.  We’re not sure what, if anything will come of that.  Did I mention that my baking has been a bit “different” for the past couple of weeks?  I’ve been experimenting with a lot of different flour combinations trying to find a “fit”.  Up to this point I have been splurging on Bob’s Red Mill AP flour but I really want to make my own mixes.  What I have accomplished is the best vanilla extract.  We started it before Christmas and are currently enjoying homemade vanilla extract.  Super easy to make, I plan on gifting it for the holidays in the future.

Homemade Vanilla Extract

1 jam jar
2 vanilla beans split

Place the vanilla beans in the jar and cover with vodka until filled.  Place top on jar and let it rest in a cool, dark place for at least 6 weeks; shaking occasionally.  I currently have mine located on my counter top to use at my whim.  Nothing tastes as good as homemade vanilla extract when a vanilla bean cannot be used.  Keep it natural.