Friday, September 21, 2012

Getting a Head Start

Christmas is less than 100 days away!  It's probably one of my most favorite times of the year...I love shopping and finding the perfect gift for my loved ones.  I've already purchased a small gift for J as well as his birthday gift (it's in October), and last night I started on my mom and grandmother's Christmas gifts.

My mom LOVES to bake.  Growing up baking Christmas cookies was always a big deal in my house.  Mom would make the dough and roll it out, and my brother and I would use the cookie cutters and then sprinkle colored sugar on them before they went into the oven.  My mom goes through a lot of vanilla extract, and I found a recipe on Annie's Eats for a DIY vanilla extract recipe.  Perfect!

I bought the bottles at Sur La Table and they were really inexpensive.  If you plan to buy a few, sign up for their email list and they'll send you a coupon for $10 off your purchase.  I ended up spending only $12 for 5 bottles.  Score!

The recipe is super simple - tight sealing bottles, cheap vodka, and vanilla beans.  I bought my vanilla beans off Amazon as it was a LOT cheaper to do it that way than to buy them in a store, and I got 16 beans for $12.  I bought them from the same supplier that Annie buys hers from as well.

No need to clean the bottles as the vodka is strong enough to sterilize them.  Split the vanilla beans and put 3 beans in each 8 ounce jar.

Fill the bottle up with vodka and seal it.  Place them in a dark, cool place for 2 months and shake occasionally.

I *really* hope these turn out.  I'll post some progress pictures as the process goes on.

Got a couple of runs on the books for this weekend...I've been taking some time off after running the 15k, and I'm ready to hit the pavement again.

Are you an early shopper when it comes to Christmas?

Until next time,



  1. WOW! I would have never thought to make those!!! And Christmas is less than 100 days away??? Yikes! I say every year I'm going to shop earlier but it hardly ever happens. I DID buy my oldest son a gift for Christmas the other one present down...a lot more to go! lol!

  2. Way to be on the ball!!! I like to start early but usually early for me is like thanksgiving!! Lol spa love!!

  3. My mom used to make homemade Vanilla just like that and it was so. good. :) She'll love it!
    I also wanted to let you know that I'm hosting a blog hop today at my blog and would love to have you join in!
    L Finch

  4. I want to echo the "YIKES" that Christmas is less than 100 days away. I try to be proactive, but I'll probably end up last minute shopping as usual!

  5. Such a cool idea! I wish I was more crafty when it comes to food-gifts etc. I made cookies one year but then gained a ton of weight lol. I'm the painter in the family ;) I usually am a last-minute person or morseso online shopper. SPA <3


Your comments make me smile :)