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DIY Vanilla Extract

DIY Vanilla Extract
Wouldn’t you be happy to get this as a Christmas gift? I read Catherine Newman’s post about making homemade vanilla as Christmas gifts and thought, Brilliant! I’m gonna do that this year! So we did. I bought a dozen 4-ounce clear Boston round glass bottles and 20 organic Tahitian vanilla beans (I actually received 23 beans). [UPDATE 12 October 2011: The company I originally bought vanilla beans from seems to be on hiatus. I also gathered my two lovely and capable assistants, Annalie and my mom Debbie. For each bottle of vanilla, you’ll need 2-3 beans and 1/2 cup of vodka. First, we used the scissors to cut each vanilla bean in half lengthwise and then again crosswise. We stuffed all the bean pieces into the bottles, seven or eight pieces per bottle. We got vanilla-bean flecks and sticky juice on our fingers, but it washed off easily and as a bonus made our hands smell yummy. After we’d distributed all the beans into the bottles, I poured a half-cup of vodka into the measuring cup.

DIY Tile Coasters I have a very bad habit of filling up water glasses and leaving them all around the house, kind of like that little girl from the movie, Signs. I also have a bad habit of never using coasters. I guess it's a sign that I am becoming adult when that pesky water ring left behind starts to get me. That, or my OCD compulsion to clean when in the procrastination kind of mood. Here is a simple tutorial for DIY tile coasters at my prefered price range, cheap. Supplies are pretty minimal. A "sheet" of moasic tile. First, cut the tile to match the dimensions of the pieces of wood. Now the fun (and messy) part. Take your sponge and ring it out so not sopping wet. Oooh, how shiny and pretty! Take those cork or felt pads and apply to each corner of the square. And voila!

Honeyed Pears in Puff Pastry Poaching fruit is one of my favorite things to do when cold weather arrives. It's so warming to stand over a boiling pot of fragrant spices and lose yourself in thought. When I made these, I couldn't help but daydream as I stirred; if I were a pear... I wouldn't want to spend my days on the shelf of a cold produce department. I'd want to be taken to a warm home and placed in a jacuzzi of honey and spices. I'd want to be wrapped in an extra long puff pastry scarf and baked until golden and toasty. That sounds a little silly, but that's what I'd want... if I were a pear. The idea for these came from the Pepperidge Farm website. On a personal note, our Christmas tree is already up courtesy of Mr. Since poaching is a relatively easy task, I'll skip to some helpful tips for wrapping the pears in puff pastry. The poaching liquid has a high concentration of sugar, so your pears will be sticky. When you reach the top, tuck in the end piece of pastry behind the last spiral. 4 small pears 1/2 lemon

Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos Make them with some sides for a fun dinner or for appetizers or snacks at a party. Whatever you make them for, this is totally “fun food”! And if you’re viewing this in a feed reader, come on over and check out our Daily Bite section that’s full of links to more fun food! Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos 1/3 C (3 oz) cream cheese 1/4 C green salsa 1T fresh lime juice 1/2 t cumin 1 t chili powder 1/2 t onion powder 1/4 t granulated garlic, or garlic powder 3 T chopped cilantro 2 T sliced green onions 2 C shredded cooked chicken (for extra yumminess, use grilled taco chicken!) 1 C grated pepperjack cheesesmall corn tortillas (and actually, flour ones are really good as well) kosher salt cooking sprayHeat oven to 425. Work with a few tortillas at a time and heat in the microwave until they are soft enough to roll without cracking. Place 2-3 T of chicken mixture on the lower third of a tortilla, keeping it about 1/2 inch from the edges. Then roll it up as tight as you can.

DIY Braided Bead Bracelet It’s been awhile since our last bracelet DIY. I don’t know about you, but our wrists have been begging for another colorful addition for months now. So after playing with some materials that were already on hand, we’ve created a tutorial for a braided bead bracelet, which is a not so distant cousin of the hex nut and wrap bracelet. You’ll need: Cut the waxed linen cord into a 26″ and 19″ piece. Tie a knot about half an inch down from the loops. Start braiding the strands. Push the bead against the base of the braid, and cross the left strand over the middle. Keep a finger at the base of the braid, holding the beads in their place and keeping the braid tight. Finish the bracelet with another inch of braided cord, measuring it against the wrist. Thread on a two hole button – two strands through one hole and one strand through another. Trim the end. Your bracelet is finished! (all images by HonestlyWTF)

Homemade Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread Recipe (Better Than Nutella) » Su Good Sweets If someone offered you portable chocolate that could instantly be spread on bread, fruit, crackers and pastries, how could you refuse? Thus began my love affair with Nutella, a European spread made of hazelnut butter and cocoa. During my days at NYU, I was at a make-your-own sandwich bar when I first tried Nutella with French bread. What a revelation! The chocolate oozed out of the nooks and crannies, while the spread’s smoothness contrasted the bread’s crust. Fascinated by this new condiment, I bought myself a jar and finished it in one week. According to Ferrero’s website, Nutella was created in the 1940s in the midst of a chocolate shortage. According to Mort Rosenblum’s Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light, a 13-ounce jar of Nutella contains 50 (2/3 cup) hazelnuts, 1 1/2 cups skim milk, “enough cocoa to make it brown, and a lot of sugar.” If you love this original recipe and repost it, please credit this site. Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread (easy version) Notes:

Baked Parmesan Zucchini Sticks I got kinda hooked on these this summer. I’ve always loved the zucchini sticks my parents served at their pizzeria and used to eat them often when I worked there. But let’s be real, though they are a “vegetable”… the deep fried part kinda trumps the veggie part don’t ya think? I started making these at home this summer…not sure why it’s taken me so long to put this zucchini recipe together. Baked Parmesan Zucchini Sticks Ingredients 3 large zucchini, sliced longways, halved and cut into sticks 2 eggs 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated 1 tsp dried oregano 1/2 tsp dried garlic powder Olive oil spray Instructions Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Tagged as: Appetizers, Side Dish, Vegetarian

DIY Macrame Bracelet Growing up by the beach in Southern California, the ability to knot a macrame bracelet was practically a right of passage. Although those days are long behind us, we’ve never forgotten the ever-so-simple square knot technique. This time, however, we’re replacing hemp and wooden beads for more updated elements like colorful nylon cord and glossy metal charms. Happy knotting! You’ll need: Start by cutting the knotting cord into two 30 inch, two 20 inch and one 10 inch lengths. Center the 30 inch cord under the two middle strands. Pull tightly and slide the knot up to the top. Finish the 2nd half of the square knot by folding the left cord over the middle strands and under the right cord. Pull tightly and repeat the steps – left, right, left, right . . . To finish the knots, thread one of the cords onto a needle and sew up the center of 3-4 knots along the backside. Repeat the same step on the other cord. After sewing up both knotting cords, trim away any excess.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip - What Megan's Making Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip It’s time for a little confession. I realize this may get me shunned (especially in my hometown of Pittsburgh!), but….I don’t like football. I don’t like to watch it, I never liked playing football with my friends, I don’t even like playing catch with a football. I saw this recipe on Jessica’s blog and made it the very next day. *Note: Jessica also has variations of this dip on her blog. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip Ingredients:1/2 cup butter 1/3 cup brown sugar 1 8-ounce block of cream cheese, softened 3/4 to 1 cup powdered sugar (*to taste) 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips, plus extra for sprinklingDirections:In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.

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