Recipes :

Making your own vanilla.

Real vanilla (NOT imitation! Yuck!) is one of the truly wonderful things on the planet and I adore it. In fact, I often dab some on instead of perfume when I want to smell especially yummy (I know, but you should try it sometime…it’s amazing.) Maryam makes it look so easy and pretty to make, I just might try making this and giving it out for the holidays (AFTER I have a liberal supply in my pantry for myself, of course.)

Here’s the thing:  I don’t like artificial flavors.  I prefer the genuine article — the real deal, the bonafide, the true.  Because life is really too short, isn’t it?  So forget the make believe.  Forget the supermarket fakery, the Stepford Wife veneer.  Even if it’s painful…say no to lying to yourself and to others.  Say no to pretending that things are different than they really are.  You might be surprised at what happens.  It might taste strange at first.  But then again, in the long run, it’s likely to taste better………. and be better for you….

And in that spirit….a recipe for real Vanilla Extract.


One bottle of vodka, preferably the kind with the not-so-perfect English in fine print on the label (bringing to mind men huddled over a fire wearing large fur hats). Scrub off the label — you’re starting fresh, after all….

12+ vanilla beans.  Redolent of Madagascar.  Or perhaps, Mexico or Indonesia.  Make far off lands yours……….

Add the vanilla beans – split or whole - directly to the bottle of vodka.  Don’t be scared.

Suddenly…things are looking hopeful. Almost like a tale of new beginnings… Store in a dark cool place for at least a month (but take all the time you need).  Then use.

And enjoy…..

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