June 28, 2012

➷ Homemade Vanilla Extract + Printable ➹

I had an interesting morning yesterday. It all started at 11am, when I got a call from my hubby, Z.
"I feel so dirty," he shouted into the phone before I could even say "Hello?" Surprised, my eyebrows raised and I could feel my eyes widen with fear, before he clarified with, "I just bought a big bottle of Brandy from the liquor store!" I waited a moment more, a smile pressing on my lips. "I've never bought liquor," he shouted. Now I'm laughing, I waited for his rantings to end. But then I learn that my husband, who served 6 years in the Marines, has never walked into a liquor store and purchased anything alcoholic, especially not hard booze.
It was no surprise to me {or anyone else with a heartbeat} when he explained how strangely everyone looked at him as he picked up the large, brandy bottle, all hunched over it, checking over his shoulder nervously, as he shouted at the clerk, "HERE'S MY ID!!!" Simultaneously he presses his thick, black-rimmed, "crazy man" glasses back up his nose.

Apparently the clerk checked it, as the "Hunchback of Berger Dame," snatched the brown, paper bagged bottle up, HISSED, and scurried out of the store. Pressing my number on auto dial, he was shouting, "I FEEL SO DIRTY," running to the Jeep. Ah... my hubby! Step back ladies, he's all mine;-) Such. A. Ham. 
Anyway, it's not my usual post day- but I thought I'd share the little gift I'd just whipped up. The idea's not unique- I saw pics all over Pinterest at Christmas time- but I thought I'd share my version along with some labels I made- for YOU. 

What You Need: 
Brandy or Vodka
Funky Bottles
Vanilla Beans- I found mine through Amazon

Making the extract is beyond easy. Some tutorials say to cut open the bean, while others say to just throw them in whole. The flavor is in the seeds, inside the bean- So I guess, do what you think is best.

 I kept mine whole. For my bottles, I put a few beans in each one. Fill the rest of the bottle with brandy or vodka. I heard brandy will taste better- so I went with that.
The mixture needs to cure or set for about 6 weeks {or more} before the rich bean's flavor will extract. Use it before that and you'll just be getting drunk! ;-)
 Store the bottles in a cool and dark place, like a closet, while it brews. Which is also a funny story, because as we closed the closet door, my panicked husband threw his hands up in the air and said, "Great, now were closet drinkers." I bit my lip trying not to laugh, but then he chased that with (no pun intended), "It's such a slippery slope." I couldn't help it, I lost it and laughed so hard my ribs hurt.

I found a few downloadable labels online, then adapted one into what I wanted.  
You can PRINT YOUR OWN, if you want to!

I added a "to" & "from" section on the label for those of you giving them as gifts- like me. If you don't need that part- just cut on the line instead, leaving that section out. I think these make super gifts- that's probably why they were all over Pinterest! {hee, hee}
One of the reasons this is also a great DIY and present is that the beans are reusable. They will actually keep for years! When your bottle is 1/3 full, you can add some more alcohol and keep an ongoing supply. 
It's basically a 1 time cost. Because of this and that we are giving them away, I invested in some gourmet vanilla beans. Pretty sweet, huh? 
*I made sure to add the directions for refilling onto the label- that way recipients know exactly what they're getting and what to do with it.

My little grandma is back in town- so I'm having a great week showing her the sights and playing lots of Scrabble. 

If you live here in Utah- make sure you check out the dinner that Lindsay {Southern Lovely} and I have put together. Tons of great sponsors have don't FREE SWAG for the attendees!! {YAY!} 
I hope YOU can come!!