Now is the time to make your own homemade vanilla extract for Christmas presents or for holiday baking! Does it seem too early? SIX months is the perfect time to let it sit, to make a delicious vanilla. Why don't I use vodka? Well, personally, I hate vodka and not just because it makes me not-nice. It is likely made with GMO wheat or potatoes or corn. Also, it just doesn't taste as yummy as rum or bourbon in a dessert. I do avoid GMO foods whenever possible. There is such a thing as GMO-vodka such as Deep Eddy Vodka for $19 a bottle. However, I am SO IN LOVE with the taste of my homemade bourbon vanilla extract made with bourbon or my homemade rum vanilla extract made with rum! I have baked with it many times, and it always comes out great but my favorite use is in whipped cream or in some coffee.
My child is now 5, so I have a lot of Junk-Free Birthday Party posts to catch up on. When my son was 3, I had this simple little party for him. I made the backdrop of Metropolis out of large poster size cardstock (is that the right word? I am so not a Pinterest expert here) and just used glue and scissors.. not perfect but so beloved, it is still on his wall in his room (see pic below). This was a very simple afternoon party, super easy and small, low-cost.
Here is another junk-free installment of one of our birthday parties. Pirates! No crap served: nothing artificial, no hydrogenated oils, no corn syrup. I'm only posting to show you it can be done and everyone ate well and was happy with the spread! Because of this, no kids melted down. WIN. It was also gluten-free, for my GF kiddo. And, the games were really fun, too. My little boy had a wonderful time. This was on the simple side. My son asked for "white cupcakes" so I just used a gluten-free mix at whole foods and the icing too (I'm not great with making my own icing).
Don't ask me how I know. I will save you from a picture of my legs, covered in poison ivy rash for more than a week. I'm out of long skirts to wear in this 85˚F heat. It's also all over my arm and other spots all over.. neck, chest.. sigh. In my desperation, I found a few really useful remedies...
This is the cake my son requested for his fifth birthday family birthday party. He'd seen an Oreo cake at Whole Foods, and he wanted one too. Now, his theme this year was Bones/Skeletons for his birthday party; and he wanted this cake to also reflect that. (We did a family birthday night and a kid birthday party too.). Anyway, we usually don't eat this kind of thing, so I was at a loss. After hours of scouring Pinterest, this is what I came up with. He loved it. Now, I know this is pretty much one of the first blog posts, and it's not the healthiest of recipes, but honestly, it was his birthday and people keep asking me the recipe! So remember, this is a mish-mash blog. Haha, I will be posting the themed birthday parties we do, too. Because they are fun, and they weren't too much work. Here is the cake, it was apparently amazing, everyone had seconds.