I know it’s been a while since I have shared a Tutorial Tuesday post with you guys, but it’s been a busy few weeks. So, I thought an easy, no frills tutorial would be perfect. No need for step-by-step photos on this one, just one quick step and then we wait.
Making homemade vanilla extract is so easy. You literally need just two ingredients, alcohol and vanilla beans and just a few minutes of prep time. You do need a little patience while the flavor of the vanilla beans is extracted, which takes several weeks. But, it is all more than worth it when you end up with the tastiest, most incredible flavor – perfect for all of your baking needs. Plus, this delicious homemade vanilla extract makes an amazing thoughtful gift.
To start, for a standard vanilla extract, I recommend an inexpensive vodka, at least 70 proof. Cheaper, many times, is better since there are no distinguishing flavors from the vodka, as it can be with a pricer spirit, which can interfere with the vanilla flavor. If you are sensitive to certain grain-based vodkas, I do recommend selecting a certified gluten-free vodka, I like and use Tito’s.
The recommended ratio of vanilla beans to vodka that I have found works best is 1 quart vodka to 1/4 pound of dry vanilla beans. This makes things very easy as I divide this amount among four 8-ounce containers, and it’s very easy to divide the 1/4 pound of beans amongst them. Simple, no crazy math, no crazy precise measuring.
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Now that we are smack in the middle of summer, I just can’t help but be so excited by all of the amazing produce in season right now. Summer is full of incredible fresh fruits and vegetables, perfect for creating delicious gluten-free dishes with.
As part of my ongoing Restricted Diet Series with Free People, I pulled together a this list of 50+ Gluten-free Recipes for Summer, featuring some of my favorites, from this site and from some of my very favorite bloggers. I hope you enjoy!
I was trying to come up with a clever name for this smoothie that would sound less, I dunno, intimidating or strange. But in brainstorming kitchy smoothie names I came to the realization, that I want the world to know how amazing zucchini is in smoothies. It provides a creaminess that is so conducive to a smoothie and it also gives me that green that I like to start my day off with – from something other than the same ‘ol greens like kale or spinach. Plus, it’s a really great way to use some of those HUGE over grown zucchini that just get all strange to cook with. I scoop out the seeds if they are big and seedy and I just chop up a cup or so. skin included and throw it in.
We have soo many figs coming from our tree and so many beautiful large heirloom zucchini from the garden, that this Zucchini and Fig Smoothie has become a regular around here. This smoothie is creamy, a little spicy, sweet, filling and sooo totally addicting. You gotta trust me on this one guys, just put some zucchini in your next smoothie!
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I have to be honest, I debated even sharing the recipe for these Zucchini Noodles with Roasted Heirloom Tomatoes. It is quite simple and really no frills. But, what it lacks in complexity and concept, it more than makes up for in flavor, ease and satisfaction. I can tell you that while there really is nothing extra special or innovative about this dish, for me lately with the craziness of life, when it comes to cooking, I am drawn to perfect summertime simplicity. As I was trying to decide on photographing this to share, I stepped back for a moment and realized how I actually live on dishes like this, in between all of the fun recipe development stuff. No frills, just classic flavors, easy, fresh, seasonal and light. Most days you will find me eating zucchini noodles, cucumber ribbons or a lettuce wrap of some sort for lunch. If these types of recipes and meals make me dance around my kitchen with joy and really satisfy me, surely I cannot be alone!
Stepping outside first thing in the morning, walking barefoot through the dew covered grass, making my way across the yard to my garden – has to be one of the highlights of my day. Many times this early morning stroll determines the rest of the meals for the day and I just adore that. Letting nature and the season decide for me.
While having a garden can at times feel like another job, most of the time it feels like pretty much THE most brilliant thing you could ever do. It legitimately feels like free food whenever I bring that morning’s bounty into the kitchen. Plus, I really love knowing exactly where my food is coming from and I enjoy connecting with my home and my surroundings in this way. Pulling weeds and looking for things ready to be picked, it is all quite therapeutic and meditative, in a way.
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