Tis the Season for DIY

Image

Tis the Season for DIY

Super easy, quick and fun Christmas d.i.y. with the kids today. Inexpensive and can be made into a sweet treat to hand out to tons of people, making each gift costs less than a dollar. Toss in a nice cellophane bag and throw a bow on it and you’ll brighten a lot of days with minimal blow to your wallet! Also, the work labor is cheap because you can pay them in decorated pretzels.

It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3. Melt chocolate or get the chocolate melts at your local store(they come in a ton of colors and flavors, so I totally recommend). Melt your choice following the instructions on the bag and then hand dip each pretzel and place on parchment while your children go nuts and throw sprinkles all over the place!! (I rolled up towels and placed around the edges of the parchment so nothing would go ricocheting across the room and I wouldn’t be sweeping up sprinkles all the way until 2014.)
Wait until cool and dry and then tuck them away between layers of parchment or throw them right in our cellophane bags and head right out the door.

Make sure you dip the broken pretzels in the chocolate and eat them. This verifies nothing is poisonous and this is a necessary step in the making. I promise.

Advertisements

DIY Vanilla Extract

So, I love to bake.  Love it.  LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE.

I also love to be cheap. LOVE x INFINITY.

I think one of the biggest wallet blows whilst baking is a good vanilla extract.  I’m always a little gutted to walk down the aisle and see the price of a decent vanilla extract(and personally I just can’t bring myself to buy the imitation, I love baking and I respect baking).  When I started reading around, poking about Pinterest, et cetera, I saw a recipe for vanilla extract. What did I say? YOU can make your own vanilla extract!  Guess how much it’ll cost….go ahead….

Image

Vanilla Extract

vanilla beans(2 or 3)*

vodka**

a glass container(depending on your container you may want a funnel and if you don’t have one, you can fashion one out of paper if you’re really in a pinch)

a knife

5 seconds of your day

Clean your container and make sure it’s nice and dry.  Get out your vanilla beans and slice them length wise(my favorite part because it smells so yummy and I spent all night sniffing my fingers like a weird beast) then place them in your container. Use your funnel and pour your vodka into the container. Put lid on and place in a dark, dry area.

Now comes the hard part:  let it sit for 8 weeks, shaking every day.  I try to shake it when I get my morning coffee together.

You can use them just like store bought vanilla extract.  Some people top it off as they go, some people wait until it is low and then refill it and wait another 8 weeks.  You can use these beans over and over for I’ve read 8 months to a year. I’ve read some people who said that they have gone even longer.

*Some people use the casing of the vanilla beans after using the beans for another recipe, also.  If you need your beans for something, you may as well try it out, right?

**You can use other types of alcohol for you base.  I’ve read that some people have had wonderful results with Jack Daniel’s in particular while some people have used rum.  Try different things out. You can buy 2 vanilla beans for the price of a bottle of vanilla extract so you will end up winning either way.

Image

I had originally made the vanilla extract on July 19th and as of today, August 5th, this is how my vanilla extract appears…

If you look at my bottle in particular, you can see loose vanilla beans in the bottom and oils in the top.  The color has obviously shifted from completely clear to a nice amber/brown.  I can’t wait to try it!!