DIY: Homemade Almond Extract

Homemade Almond Extract

Homemade Almond Extract is super easy to make at home and only requires 2 ingredients. Vodka and Raw Almonds.

Ok, people. I’m going to admit something to everyone. I’m not a fan of Country Western music. HOWEVER, ever since I’ve watched the Billboard Music Awards and Luke Bryan sang Play it Again…… I can not get enough of that song. It’s pretty much the only country song I’ve been listening to. It’s not that typical country Western song where they’re singing about depressing love stories. Sometimes I even start singing and that part is scary. Now that’s off my chest. Phew!

I was able to find raw almonds in the organic section of my grocery store, but not the peeled raw almonds. That is the reason why my almond extract looks kind of like a tanish color in the picture. If you can find peeled almonds without the shell, use that instead and your Almond Extract will look clear. I’m not too worried about mine turning a brown color because it goes inside baked goods pretty much anyway, and you won’t be able to see it once it’s added in there right?

Almond Extract is probably my favorite extract. I think I like it most because of it’s smell. It’s really good to flavor frostings with, put in fresh cherry pie, make homemade cookies, the sky is the limit.

Homemade Almond Extract

DIY: Homemade Almond Extract
 
Ingredients
  • 12 whole raw almonds (skinless)
  • 16 oz. vodka
  • 16 oz. dark glass bottle with tight-fitting lid
Instructions
  1. Drop the almonds into the bottom of the your dark glass bottle.
  2. Pour the vodka over the almonds and fill to the top of the bottle. Put the lid on and close tightly.
  3. Place the vodka and almond mixture in a cool and dark place, like a pantry or garage, and let the mixture sit for 2 months.
  4. hake the mixture every 3 to 5 days for the entire 2 month period. Do not remove the lid.
  5. Recipe from : http://www.ehow.com/how_5365668_make-almond-extract.html

 

Homemade Ranch Dressing

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Homemade Ranch Dressing. Who doesn’t love ranch dressing? I put it on everything and dip it in everything. I especially love to dip Ranch Dressing in my chicken fingers that I get at Hornbacher’s at the grocery store for lunch. You can easily make it at home with just the right spices, some buttermilk, and some mayo. Doesn’t have to be mayo either, you could use greek yogurt even.

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Add in some buttermilk and mayo and stir.  If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can always use regular milk and add in a couple drops of lemon juice. Let the milk sit for awhile to let it get thick.

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Happy dipping!

Homemade Ranch Dressing
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp dried dill
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • ⅛ tsp dried thyme
Instructions
  1. Whisk the yogurt and milk together until well combined
  2. Whisk in the parsley, followed by the remaining seasonings
  3. Sore in the fridge in an glass jar for an hour to set before serving
  4. Shake the jar well before using
  5. Will last for at least a week in the fridge (will depend on the best before date on the yogurt)

 

Homemade Magic Shell

I love going to Dairy Queen and getting one of those dipped cones. The best part of that is the hardened chocolate on top of the ice cream. I haven’t been to Dairy Queen in such a LONG time because I’ve been going to Tutti Frutti’s. They have all sorts of Magic Shell toppings there I’m going to figure out how to make each one of them now. I first had magic shell on top of some ice cream.

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I was so excited at how fast the chocolate hardened, I decided to try dipping some ice cream cones in the Magic Shell. I felt like I was a little kid again. And then I put the sprinkles on top of the ice cream cone.

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How cool is this? I look forward to more chocolate dipped ice cream cones.

The secret ingredient is Coconut Oil.

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Homemade Magic Shell

3 oz of Chocolate Chips
3 tablespoons of coconut oil

Directions:

In a microwave safe bowl, add chocolate and coconut oil. Melt in microwave for 1 minute. Check after 30 seconds to see if the chocolate is melted. Poor over ice cream and enjoy!

The art of Cheese Making

I’ve been wanting to try cheese making for a long time now, and today I finally attempted to try it. I always thought that making cheese would be scary because it required boiling milk. If you boil milk to long it scorches the bottom of the pan. That’s a real pain in the ass to clean up too. It’s actually quite simple if you have a thermometer because all you have to do is wait for the milk to get to 90 degrees and take it off the stove top. No scraping your pot for a long time trying to get it cleaned.

Rennet is hard to find in this area and I’ve had a bottle of it sitting in my pantry for the longest time. The first time I made a batch of cheese, I used lemon juice in place of citric acid. That didn’t work very well. The cheese ended up more like fresh ricotta cheese. The second time I tried making cheese was with citric acid. You can find citric acid in the canning section at Wal-Mart.

I can not seem to figure out how they get the cheese to be so smooth. The cheese was stringy in the end like it said, but mine still looked very clumpy. I didn’t get all the cheese like in the picture I got the recipe from. Oh well, maybe the third time will be the charm?

Homemade Mozzarella Cheese

1 gallon whole milk  (I used vitamin d milk)
1 tsp. citric acid
1/4 rennet tablet (if you find liquid rennet the equivalent of that is 1/4 teaspoon of the liquid)
2 tsp. cheese salt (I used kosher)

Place milk in large pot with thermometer.

Sprinkle 1 tsp. citric acid over milk and stir.

Turn heat on med-low and heat milk to 90 degrees, stirring occasionally.

While you are heating the milk, dissolve 1/4 rennet tablet in 1/4 C. cool water.

When milk has reached 90 degrees, turn off heat.  Pour rennet over slotted spoon into milk and stir for 20-30 seconds.
Remove thermometer and let milk sit undisturbed for 8-10 minutes.

Milk should be like a thick gelatin.  Cut the curd into a grid pattern.

Stir gently for a minute and then remove the curd using your slotted spoon into a microwave safe bowl, trying to leave as much of the whey (the yellowish liquid) behind.

Pour off as much liquid as you can without losing any curds.  Heat in microwave for 1 minute. Stir, pour off liquid and heat for 35-40 seconds more.  Stir and pour off any liquid.  Cheese should start to stick together and look stringy.  If the curds are not sticking together you can heat for 35-40 seconds more.

Once your curds are sticking together and you have removed most of the liquid, add your cheese salt.  I usually sprinkle a little on, knead, and sprinkle more on until all the salt is incorporated.

After your salt is incorporated, heat the cheese for 35-45 seconds more until it is stretchy like taffy.  The cheese will be really hot, so it helps to wear gloves to work with the cheese.

Pull and stretch cheese until it is shiny and smooth.

Shape cheese into a log by kneading on counter top.

Recipe from Heart, Hands, Home (with better instructions and pictures of each step)

Next up on my list to try: homemade bacon.

 

Homemade Peanut Butter

I was looking for something easy to make today, since I didn’t feel like baking. Well.. I take that back. I really wanted to bake but being it Easter and all there were so many desserts. Pie, shortcake, and lemon bars. I wanted to have all 3 of them.

Making your own peanut butter is so easy. That is, if you own a food processor. When I made this, the peanut butter kind of formed a ball at first, and I wondered what was going on. You have to let the food processor run until the peanut butter is smooth. That is key when making peanut butter. If you want even healthier peanut butter don’t add in any oil at all. It’s so good, I want to make my own nutella next!

Add about 15 oz of peanuts to a food processor or more, depending on how much peanut butter you want. Pulse until it looks like this:

 

Isn’t it amazing how something like this?

Can turn into this? ;)

Ingredients from Alton Brown

15 ounces shelled and skinned AB’s roasted peanuts, recipe follows
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
1 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil

Directions

Place the peanuts, salt and honey into the bowl of a food processor. Process for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Place the lid back on and continue to process while slowly drizzling in the oil and process until the mixture is smooth, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Place the peanut butter in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.

Homemade Lipbalm

Pinterest has me doing many odd things now. I’m more fashionable, which I never really was. The website has me making things like my own bath bubbles, body scrub and lip balm. I now even want to buy a sewing machine, because I want to learn how to sew. It will keep me busy during those long Winter months.

My latest pinterest adventure was making my own lip balm. It took almost a whole entire day for it to set, because it’s been very muggy and humid outside. This afternoon, I put two containers of lip balm in my bag to give to my friends and when I got to my friends house they were already melted. Be careful of what temperatures you store this in. It could look like other things. :) I ended up making peppermint, chocolate (4 or 5 chocolate chips), and lavendar. You only need about 8 to 10 drops of those.

The beeswax, I got at Hobby Lobby. It was about $16.00 for a whole bar of it. You get a lot and it lasts a long time.

The little storage container, I bought at the $1 store. Talk about cheap.

All the rest of the ingredients, I got at Swanson Health Products. Here is the recipe.

Ingredients from Delia Creates

1-2 TBSP. grated beeswax
2-3 TBSP. coconut oil
1/2 TBSP. sweet almond oil
5-10 drops of essential oil {added off heat}

Grate beeswax with a cheese grater. In a double boiler, melt the beeswax and coconut oil until all the beeswax is melted. Add in the almond oil and stir along with whatever flavor you choose.

Make your own Body Scrub

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I know what you’re thinking. A recipe for body scrub… have you gone mad? Nope. I haven’t. I thought this blog needed something else, since I’m interested in other things like gardening, photography, crafting, and of course cooking. Why not add those sections to my blog too?

Last year I crafted my own tombstones for Halloween and they turned out pretty neat. This year I’ve found a DIY grim reaper and ghost milk carton lights. You should see all the milk, I’ve been drinking. :)

Anyways…. all these ingredients you can either get online at Swanson Health Products like the Vitamin E oil, Coconut Oil, or Peppermint Oil. Sea Salt and Sugar you can find in the baking aisle at your grocery store. This body scrub makes your skin feel nice and soft afterwards. My friend who’s also starting a craft-ish type blog was kind enough to order the stuff for me.

Body Scrub recipe from deliciously organized.


1 cup organic cane sugar
1/3 cup celtic sea salt
1/2 cup organic coconut oil
2-3 tablespoons almond oil
1 tablespoon Vitamin E
Lavender Essential Oil
Scrubs are a wonderful way to gently exfoliate and leave you feeling fresh and renewed.  Making your own is a breeze, and most the time you can use what you already have at home.  I start with a recycled jar, and then add a little bit of the salt, sugar, coconut oil {one at a time so I can control the consistency} and then add the rest of the ingredients.
You can also make a nice sugar scrub with 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil and essential oil.  For a brown sugar scrub, try 2 cups brown sugar, 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup honey and 1 teaspoon of vanilla.

Taco Seasoning

Ever wanted to make a recipe that calls for a packet of taco seasoning but never had that? The packets that you get at the grocery store always have so much sodium in them and if you’re watching your sodium intake making your own taco seasoning is a good way to avoid that. I always have chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, and cumin on hand in my pantry…..AND we’re always making our own tacos or Mexican food at home. Make a bunch of this and store it in a jar or Tupperware container and you’ll have taco seasoning all the time.

Ingredients from Smells Like Home

1/4 cup ancho chili powder/chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 to 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (to taste)
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp paprika
2 tbsp ground cumin
3 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Store in an airtight container.

To use: Use 2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons of taco seasoning in place of a packet of store-bought taco seasoning. Combine 2 tbsp cornstarch with 1 cup cold water and stir to dissolve cornstarch. In a large saute pan set over medium-high heat, brown 1lb ground beef, turkey or chicken, add seasoning and cornstarch-water mixture, and simmer over low heat until liquid has thickened.