Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Homemade Vanilla Extract, GMO & Grain Free

RE-POST! Time to make your own vanilla!
I go through a lot of vanilla extract over here.  So, I got a great deal on vanilla beans online (do a search and you will, too!) and made my own. It is so easy! Most people use vodka, but I do not. This is why.  First, I do not believe that Celiacs can drink vodka and grain based alcohols. Why? Because I never have been able to.  They have always made me sick.  The two alcohols that do not bother me are rum and tequila.  And guess what? Neither of those are grain based.  Vodka is almost always wheat based. Sure, you can buy potato vodka if you want. But, potatoes are still considered grain-like (reactions in body).   My second reason is that I am trying to completely cut out GMOs.  So I want to stay away from anything that is made from GMO (wheat, potatoes, grains) even if it is denatured and not problem causing for gluten intolerants (which I do not believe).  Of course, it is up to you.  There is very little vanilla extract in any recipe.  I used rum made in Louisiana from Louisiana cane sugar. Louisiana cane sugar is GMO free.  So I made more than 1 1/2 pints of vanilla extract for less than $17.  Next time, I am going to buy organic vanilla beans! (I wish I had thought of that the first time).
In my picture you can see I forgot to cut the beans to make them less tall.  I'll have to do it later.  I'll post a picture later to show you the color change!

UPDATE: It worked! Took 3 months!  I have done this twice so I am re-posting this post.

Just made: not ready yet!

Made and bottled to sell for a friend's adoption fundraiser! (Left is the rum)

Homemade Vanilla Extract
makes one 750 ML bottle

1 bottle of cane-sugar rum made in US or Cuba
9 organic vanilla beans, mine were on the small side

Open rum bottle.  Slice the vanilla bean pods length-wise and use the knife to scrape out the inside seeds.  Scrape the seeds on the knife inside the lip of your rum bottle.  Cut vanilla beans in half to make them half as tall.  Drop them into the bottle, and try to push the seeds into the bottle as you are doing it. Re-cork the bottle and shake well.  Store in a cool dark place for 3 months, SHAKING DAILY if possible.  Don't let the liquid go below the vanilla pods.  Refill as necessary.  The vanilla beans will last longer than one bottle's worth of rum.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Pepperoni Goat Cheese "Sandwich" Snacks

These are quick and easy, and are great to bring along in a lunch box!

Pepperoni Goat Cheese "Sandwich" Snacks

Large pepperoni slices
Goat cheese

Spread out single slices of pepperoni on a cookie sheet for oven, or a pie pan for toaster oven and bake at 350˚F until crispy- about ten minutes.  You can also broil it faster but you'll have to watch it so it won't burn.
Cool enough to handle. Make sandwiches with goat cheese between two layers of pepperoni.  So easy!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Savory Bacon Cheesecake with goat cheese

This turned out slightly towards a quiche, but still a bit like cheesecake.  It was sooo good! The crust is totally optional. You can also do an almond flour quiche crust. I used a hand mixer with this.
I found some bacon ends on sale at Whole Foods, very inexpensive.  I used them for this recipe.
A 7-inch pan will give you a taller cheesecake.  A 9-inch pan will be a shorter cheesecake, but just as delicious.

Savory Bacon Cheesecake

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup pork rinds, crumbed in food processor as fine as possible
2 Tablespoons butter, melted

Combine crust ingredients in a bowl and use a fork to incorporate the melted butter.  Press into the bottom of a 7 to 9 inch springform pan or tart pan. I just used a tart pan. Set aside.

9 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup (4 oz) soft goat cheese
1/4 cup (4 Tablespoons) sour cream
3 eggs, organic and free range is always best (more good fats)
1/2 cup thick bacon or bacon ends, cooked already and cut into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon or more of sea salt
fresh ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350˚ F.  Beat cheeses together until fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time while mixing in between. Add sour cream and and mix just until blended.  Add bacon and stir in with a spoon.

Pour filling into crust. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until center is set but still a little jiggly. Remove to cool. If using a springform pan, you will want to cool it all the way (at least an hour) before removing the sides.  We ate ours warm like a quiche, but cold might work well too. Cover leftovers and refrigerate.