I never knew you could make vanilla extract until recently. I began to hear rumors of a few of my friends making it themselves and sure enough, after a short google search realized it was not only possible, but simple. A friend had given me a few vanilla beans so I gave it a try and was pleasantly surprised. You can supposedly keep the stuff forever as long as you just keep adding a little alcohol now and again to keep the beans covered and change out the beans occasionally. The only disclaimer I have so far is that I only bake with it and still use the store vanilla for recipes where it gets mixed in and eaten as is. But hey, if you like a little punch of alcohol in whatever it is you are mixing up, then by all means, go for it. Here is the recipe I used: (Taken from the cookbook Real Snacks, by Lara Ferroni).
Vanilla Extract (1 pint extract)
3 to 5 vanilla beans
1 pint vodka or white rum
Score the vanilla beans down the middle and place them in a tall bottle with a tightly fitting cap. Fill with vodka. Place in a dark cabinet for at least 2 weeks. Top off with more of the alcohol after each use. Every 6 months or so, replace the vanilla beans with new ones. The extract will keep indefinitely in a dark cabinet.
One of my favorite Pinterest finds so far has got to be Homemade Wine Slush. A few years ago I came across a vendor who was selling a wine slush mix. I am usually not the easiset person to sell things on, but one sip of this stuff and I was pulling out my purse. I paid $10 for the mix which did not include the bottle of wine. Not my proudest frugal moment. Anyway, when I came across a recipe on a blog that claimed it was the exact same thing I had to give it a try. It was fantastic!!! When I broke it down price wise I realized each mix cost just under 50cents to make. That is quite the savings! Be sure to check out the recipe below and if you need a few visuals, click on the link to the blog Girl Ryanne.
Homemade Wine Slush
1 2/3 cups sugar (more or less based on sweetness preference)
2 tsp Citric Acid (found in the canning aisle)
1 bottle of Wine (I used a fruity Arbor Mist)
3 cups water
Combine sugar and citric acid in food processor or blender. Run for 2 minutes or until consistency is powder like. Transfer powder to large mixing bowl. Add 1 bottle of wine and whisk. Add 3 cups water. Stir until combined. Place in a gallon freezer bag or container and freeze 4-6 hours or until frozen.