Healthy Chocolate Almonds– It’s a Hit with the Kids!

Story #1: I was introduced to chocolate almonds through a friend. She innocently opened up this bag which beheld chocolate gems that were all too delicious and I had to withhold my wandering hand from finishing the entire bag (that was much too small for my binging taste). They fulfilled my demon sweet tooth, while being healthy for me as well. I knew I had to find out a way to get a bigger supply.

Story #2: If you knew my child, you would know what a struggle it is to get anything into his mouth that is not covered with a list full of things every mother would probably grind their teeth down to stumps if they heard/read. He is a toddler, after all, and to make it worse, we’ve had to cradle his weight gain, and fill his tummy with anything that would keep him over the 50th percentile. (Shout out to all the cystic fibrosis parent’s out there that know my pain!) This kid doesn’t eat healthy, I’m sorry to say, but he is healthy, so I’ll take it. When I tasted the above story’s chocolate almonds, I thought it might be  a good idea to at least try it out on the Oscar the Grouch of food. To tell you simply, I now have to have a steady supply of almonds and cocoa powder in the house. It’s his snack time staple, and I feel great about giving it to him. (Plus, those almonds pack in a ton of those healthy calories! Whoop whoop!!)

As with many of the things I make, it couldn’t be easier. (It has to be if I’m promoting it for mom’s/parent’s right?) You probably have half if not all of the ingredients anyways.

Start with a handful of almonds (or lets be generous and say 1/4 cup). Healthy Chocolate Almonds -- The Everyday Chef and Wife

With the almonds in a bowl,  drizzle on 1/4 tsp of melted coconut oil (other oils work too, and you can even use cooking spray if you wanted, but to keep it the healthiest and spectacularly yummy, I use coconut oil. It’s the miracle oil), shake or spoon until sheen-fully covered. –Winning!Healthy Chocolate Almonds -- The Everyday Chef and WifeHealthy Chocolate Almonds -- The Everyday Chef and Wife

Use 1/2 tsp of good cocoa powder and put on top. Shake it up until the almonds are well covered. Healthy Chocolate Almonds -- The Everyday Chef and Wife Healthy Chocolate Almonds -- The Everyday Chef and Wife Healthy Chocolate Almonds -- The Everyday Chef and Wife

This part is completely optional, but it takes just a bit of the bitterness from the cocoa powder off, sprinkle on the teensiest bit of powdered sugar. 

Healthy Chocolate Almonds -- The Everyday Chef and Wife

There’s barely any calories and it makes it that much more satisfying to anyone’s sweet tooth. You can make it as sweet or as natural as you want. The crazy thing about cocoa powder is that your taste buds associate it with being sugary (with everything else that we have it in) and it makes us believe it’s more sugary that it actually is when consumed as a natural flavor. (Obviously this does not go for spoonfuls at a time, and if you’ve done that or want to do that, then, well… I don’t really know how to respond to you.)Healthy Chocolate Almonds -- The Everyday Chef and Wife Healthy Chocolate Almonds -- The Everyday Chef and Wife

And that’s it folks! Seriously, it’s that simple! Serve in a bowl or a bag, with a mole, or a hag. I will eat these chocolate almonds Sam I… Alright, enough. 

You can make a single batch, or for road trips. Make a big one for a healthy alternative to stopping at a gas station and grabbing the closest guilty pleasure candy bar. It curbs my cravings like you wouldn’t believe. And with road trip season just ahead of us, you have nothing to lose. Or try it on your kids. If my kid likes it…. Healthy Chocolate Almonds -- The Everyday Chef and Wife

-The Wife

Healthy Chocolate Almonds
Serves 1
A healthy alternative to the guilty pleasure sweets, and if the kids will chow them down, you don't feel bad!
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Prep Time
3 min
Total Time
3 min
Prep Time
3 min
Total Time
3 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/4 cup raw almonds
  2. 1/4 tsp melted coconut oil (any will work, but we like this the best)
  3. 1/2 tsp of a good cocoa powder
  4. a sprinkle of powdered sugar *optional*
Instructions
  1. Coat the almonds in the coconut oil. Put cocoa powder over top and shake until well covered. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired. Serve whenever, and in whatever.
The Everyday Chef and Wife http://blog.theeverydaychefandwife.com/

Glimpses into our Life: Finishing each others… sandwiches

We all come to a point in our married life and we think “holy cow we’ve come to that point that we’ve only heard about.”

Tonight we were watching The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby (I’m a big fan of Mr. McAvoy mostly because he’s a spitting image of my main man, only mine is the even better looking version), anyways we were watching the weird alternate reality vision of The Chef inside the t.v when James McAvoys character was wearing these pretty wicked Ray Ban wayfarers and I thought to myself those are pretty sweet. Jason would look good in those, obviously. And without skipping a beat The Chef turned to me and said “those are pretty sweet glasses.”

“Did you seriously just read my mind?!” I asked.
He looked at me puzzled and I told him that I had just thought the same thing and how his reply was unknowingly perfectly timed.
“I guess we’re to that point that even when we think, we finish each other’s–”
“Sandwiches.”

21 Minute Homemade Ricotta Cheese

Homemade Ricotta Cheese--The Everyday Chef and Wife

Following along with switching over to homemade, making it ourselves, products, we bring you: Ricotta Cheese. Are you thinking that there’s no possible way that you can make cheese because it should be for some professional to figure out? Yea, I thought that too. I never believed in my life that I would start making my own cheese. But you know what? I am totally hooked! If you can boil milk, you can make this cheese.

List of special things you’ll need:
Cheese cloth — You can find it at any fabric store or online
Strainer
Citric acid
Thermometer

Ingredients:
1 gallon whole milk
1 cup cream
1 tsp citric acid
2 tsp Kosher salt

On medium heat warm milk, and cream, heat till 190˚F. Homemade Ricotta Cheese-- The Everyday Chef and Wife

Homemade Ricotta Cheese-- The Everyday Chef and Wife

Once the desired temp is reached, add citric acid and gently stir. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Carefully pour into a strainer that’s covered with a cheesecloth (we actually used an old, clean kitchen apron and it works great).Homemade Ricotta Cheese--The Everyday Chef and Wife Homemade Ricotta Cheese--The Everyday Chef and Wife

Homemade Ricotta Cheese--The Everyday Chef and Wife Homemade Ricotta Cheese--The Everyday Chef and Wife Homemade Ricotta Cheese--The Everyday Chef and Wife

Let it sit for 10-20 min. *You can use it hot and have it be legit “21 min cheese” and you can skip this step. The longer you let it sit, the thicker it will get.* Homemade Ricotta Cheese--The Everyday Chef and Wife Homemade Ricotta Cheese--The Everyday Chef and Wife Homemade Ricotta Cheese--The Everyday Chef and Wife

When you have desired thickness, sprinkle the salt over top and mix. Store up for a week safely. 

Homemade Ricotta Cheese--The Everyday Chef and Wife

For some extra zing in flavor, add in pesto or sundried tomatoes. I wanted to cry a little bit when The Chef made pesto ricotta and added it to veggie lasagna. I have never… I can’t even explain it’s awesomeness.

*After the ricotta has strained, you can discard the whey underneath, or use it when you boil potatoes or pasta. I’ve heard it gives really great flavor! If you know of other uses for this, please let me know! I want to find awesome uses if I can instead of dumping it*

Next on our list for cheeses is mozzarella! I’ve seen a lot of how to’s and blog on how to do it, I just have to order my vegetable rennet. I’m super geeked. That will knock down our cost for making our own pizza into under a dollar mark if I’m doing my math correctly.

Oh and speaking of prices. Why don’t you check out the cost of ricotta cheese from a store compared to making it yourself. Now there’s a wallet friendly M.I.Y! You get about quadruple the amount for less money. Um, yes please.

Let us know if you have any questions!! We love hearing from you!

Print out the recipe so it’s an easy find for next time! Don’t forget to share this blog with your pals! It’s like a free gift (or sort of).

Homemade 21 Minute Ricotta Cheese
Yields 4
Creamy homemade ricotta cheese that's a cinch to make and it takes less time than to go to the store.
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Prep Time
1 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
21 min
Prep Time
1 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
21 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 gallon of whole milk
  2. 1 cup cream
  3. 1 tsp citric acid
  4. 2 tsp Kosher salt
Instructions
  1. On medium heat warm milk, and cream, heat till 190˚F. Once the desired temp is reached, add citric acid and gently stir. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Carefully pour into a strainer that's covered with a cheesecloth. Let it sit for 10-20 min. *You can use it hot and have it be legit "21 min cheese" and you can skip this step. The longer you let it sit, the thicker it will get.* When you have desired thickness, sprinkle the salt over top and mix. Store up for a week safely.
Notes
  1. For an extra zing of flavor, add in pesto or sundried tomatoes! This is greeeeat in lasagna!!
The Everyday Chef and Wife http://blog.theeverydaychefandwife.com/
 -The Everyday Chef and Wife-

“Binn Rolls”– Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls

Ok. You’ve probably heard of these before, right? But have you ever made them? Ohmygarsh are they ever De-to-the licious. I got the inspiration awhile ago and meant to do something similar with Grands biscuit dough, and while I haven’t tried it with the pre-made stuff, I’m going to make the assumption and think that it was good that I waited. I seriously cannot think of anything being better than these stinking things. I’m a little bit mad and a little bit in love with myself for trying them out. My waist hates it, but my mouth craves it.

What’s unique about them is you expect the chewy, doughiness of a regular cinnamon roll when you bite into it, but instead you’re hello’d by a tender flakyness, perfectly mixed with a bit of a salty dough to cut through the would-have-been extremely sweetness of the cinnamon sugar swirled insides and glaze.

What’s amazing about them is that they take a fraction of the time that homemade regular cinnamon rolls take to make. No “knead” to rise here! (You see what I did there? Classic.) If you’re an old pro at making homemade biscuits, this one’s for you.

This is going to be a step-by-step photo experience to show you just how simply it is. I’m not lying.

Start with 2 cups of flour

Binn Rolls - Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls : The Everyday Chef and Wife

Add in 1 Tablespoon of sugarBinn Rolls - Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls : The Everyday Chef and Wife

Add 1 Tablespoon of baking powderBinn Rolls - Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls : The Everyday Chef and Wife

Add 1 teaspoon of salt_MG_5513

Whisk together

Binn Rolls - Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls : The Everyday Chef and Wife

Cut up 8 Tablespoons of butter and add to flour Binn Rolls - Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls : The Everyday Chef and Wife

And cut it in until it’s pea-size Binn Rolls - Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls : The Everyday Chef and Wife

Binn Rolls - Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls : The Everyday Chef and Wife

Make a well and add in a little less the 3/4 cup of milk (if you add in the full amount you might need a few more Tablespoons of flour)Binn Rolls - Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls : The Everyday Chef and Wife

Binn Rolls - Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls : The Everyday Chef and Wife

Mix with a fork or hands and shape into a ballBinn Rolls - Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls : The Everyday Chef and Wife

Flour the counter top and prepare to roll out the doughBinn Rolls - Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls : The Everyday Chef and Wife

Binn Rolls - Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls : The Everyday Chef and Wife

Roll dough out pretty thin. Remember it’ll be rolled up. Don’t do regular biscuit thickness. Binn Rolls - Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls : The Everyday Chef and Wife Binn Rolls - Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls : The Everyday Chef and Wife Binn Rolls - Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls : The Everyday Chef and Wife

With room temp butter, spread out a layer onto the rolled out dough Binn Rolls - Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls : The Everyday Chef and Wife Binn Rolls - Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls : The Everyday Chef and Wife

Add on a pretty generous layer of brown sugar. I haven’t measured this, but it’s probably about a half a cup.Binn Rolls - Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls : The Everyday Chef and Wife

Binn Rolls - Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls : The Everyday Chef and Wife

Sprinkle on cinnamon, (around 2 tsp I’m guessing)Binn Rolls - Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls : The Everyday Chef and Wife

Binn Rolls - Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls : The Everyday Chef and Wife

From one side, carefully start rolling it back. It might seem like it’s not very tight. That’s ok. They plump when they bake.

Binn Rolls - Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls : The Everyday Chef and Wife

Binn Rolls - Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls : The Everyday Chef and Wife

Taking floss or thin kitchen twine, slide it underneath the log, bring up, cross over, and cinch down. This give it a perfect cut without flattening the log like a knife would. Binn Rolls - Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls : The Everyday Chef and Wife Binn Rolls - Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls : The Everyday Chef and Wife Binn Rolls - Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls : The Everyday Chef and Wife

Binn Rolls - Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls : The Everyday Chef and Wife

Prepare a cast iron skillet with a half a stick of melted butter and 1/4 -1/2 cup of brown sugar. It gives it a syrupy crunchy crust on the bottom that is to die feeeer.

Binn Rolls - Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls : The Everyday Chef and Wife Binn Rolls - Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls : The Everyday Chef and Wife

Place rolls in the pan. It’s fine that they’re touching. Less brown edges which is good in my book.

Binn Rolls - Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls : The Everyday Chef and Wife

(The Chef hates that little one stuffed in there. He wanted me to put a disclaimer noting that we too think it’s ugly. We’re sorry for it’s ugliness. It got eaten first.)

Bake in the oven at 425˚ for around 15 minutes. This really all depends on how thick you cut your rolls. Start at 15 and add minutes on from there. Easier to add on time than to take it off. Unless you’re Doctor Who.

In this manner we’ll say bake until they are just starting to turn a light golden brown. 15+ min.Binn Rolls - Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls : The Everyday Chef and Wife

Binn Rolls - Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls : The Everyday Chef and Wife

Drizzle with icing (milk/cream and powdered sugar) Binn Rolls - Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls : The Everyday Chef and Wife

Ta-da!!

It is easier to pull them out when they’re a little warmer, so if you feel the need to transfer, do it then. They are dainty petite little things, but fierce in flavor!

Let me know if you made them and what you think! Share the wealth with your friends! Lets make the “Binn Rolls” the next Cronut!! When they get crazy famous you an be like “yea I was apart of that” and gives yourself a pat on the back. While eating a binn roll.

Just a suggestion ;)

-The Everyday Chef and Wife-

"Binn" Roll's
Yields 12
A beautiful mixture of biscuits and cinnamon rolls!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. Preheat oven at 425˚F
:For Dough
  1. 2 cups Flour
  2. 1 Tbsp Sugar
  3. 1 Tbsp Baking Powder
  4. 1 tsp salt
  5. 8 Tbsp butter [for dough]
  6. little less than 3/4 cup of milk
:For cinnamon layer
  1. 4 Tbsp butter
  2. 1/2 cup or so brown sugar
  3. about 2 tsp cinnamon
:For in the pan
  1. 4 Tbsp butter
  2. 1/4- 1/2 cup brown sugar
:For Icing
  1. 1 cup powdered sugar
  2. 2 Tbsp milk/cream (adding more of either ingredient until mixture is runny but not super soupy. I've always wanted to say that.)
Instructions
  1. Mix dry ingredients together and whisk. Cut in butter (at room temp) and using a fork or pastry cutter, cut until flour and butter are pea-size balls. Make a well and add in milk, adding a little at a time to make sure to not get dough too wet. (If that happens, add in a couple Tbsp of flour) Shape into a ball.
  2. Prepare counter top to roll out dough with a rolling pin. Roll out until about 1/8" or less. Spread on the 4 Tbsp of butter (adding more if needed), and a generous layer of brown sugar. Sprinkle on cinnamon in an even layer.
  3. Carefully roll dough into a log. If the log feels loose, it's ok. The rolls will plump when they bake. Taking floss, or thin kitchen twine, slip the thread under the log, bring up, cross over and cut/cinch down. Using a knife will flatten the log.
  4. Using a large cast iron, melt another 4 Tbsp of butter and sprinkle on brown sugar. Place rolls on top. It's ok if the cinnamon rolls touch. Bake for 15+min adding more time until rolls are golden brown.
  5. Make icing and drizzle over top. You can make more or less or none at all. It will always be good.
The Everyday Chef and Wife http://blog.theeverydaychefandwife.com/

New In-Home Dinner Club!

in-home dinner club

From the get-go, really the thing that spurred The Chef to branch out in his own business, was to bring quality, homemade, handmade, palate pleasing while being aesthetically pleasing, real food into homes anyway we could. Be it in-home cook days where we make it and store it for you right in your home, or personal chef dinner parties serving 2+ people, or via this blog where you can make it yourself.

The thing that has caught my eye and what I have literally become obsessed over, is these gorgeous, simplistic, rustic, farm-to-table style dinners that the whole world seems to be throwing. Why can’t I just live in those pictures? Can I be invited to all of them, pleeease? More than a few days have been wasted with me just sitting on Pinterest and various blogs wishing for the serenity that seemed to be eeking out of the pages (as my two year old smashes his bulldozer and excavator in a giant mechanical battle. I think all the parents feel me there…).

Other people have got to feel like this, right? You just want to escape with your foodie friends and just visit! Without all the hubbub commotion that comes with going out to a restaurant.  Or just sit back and not worry about getting all the food ready in time, drinks, dessert, all the while making sure it’s all set up? By the end of it you almost get resentful that you ever even offered to have people over. Party day doesn’t have to be stress day.

The Chef and I have combined forces: He creates the food, I create the feel. I am putting pinning days to good use and am getting inspired to the brim! I still think back on the day that we had our own backyard party. It gets ranked in my happy thoughts. We had so much fun putting it together. As soon as it gets warm out, we are busting out another one pronto.

_MG_2914 _MG_2895 _MG_2934 _MG_2868 _MG_2894 _MG_2936 _MG_2951

How awesome would it be for everyone to be able to enjoy this splendor? Wouldn’t it be so easy to let your friends in on it: invite them over for a dinner club party where everyone pitches in on the bill (that you would do anyways at a restaurant) and each meeting you could try something new? You guys get to make the menu and we get to create it for you. Just show up and enjoy it! Deck your own halls or we can help with it with some pretty awesome decor finds that’ll really spruce up the event! My whole self is excited to start hosting our own and other peoples! It’s going to be so fun.

Email The Chef at Chefjasonmcclearen@live.com or visit the website for more info!

Hope to see you all soon at some parties!!

-The Everyday Chef and Wife

Grilled Cheese with Fig Jam – How To Make A Killer Sandwich

I know without a doubt that I will never outgrow grilled cheese sandwiches. I hate the fact that I love them so much. No, scratch that. I love it. I hate the fact that I still like it with American cheese. Please don’t judge me. I know it’s plastic. The great thing about this grilled cheese is that it doesn’t have American cheese, and I still love it, even more than the sandwich from my youth.

The Chef had picked up a few different cheeses from a local cheese artisan shop, one of them called Ossau Iraty. It has characteristics like a sharp cheddar and parmesan.  The quality was amazing because you just got a hint of that raw milk/farm taste. At the risk of sounding like Frasier, the taste was exquisite and sophisticated.

200

Another cheese was a cave age Gruyere. Where the other one lacked in creaminess, this one picked it up. The combination of the two = perfection. Taste and smoothness is what ever person looks for in a good grilled cheese. (Excluding the classic american cheese lovers, because we are, just simply, set in our ways.) 

Shredding them in long slivers, he placed the cheeses on top of the white bread (we used our homemade white bread, which has a soft texture while having more structure than Wonder Bread, ok I’ll have to put that recipe up here…), with the opposite side having been buttered. Setting the buttered side down on an stainless steel pan, pop the pan in the broiler for a few minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Then take the pan and put it on the stove-top on medium heat. Taking another slice of bread (one side buttered) place on top of the melted cheese, buttered side up. Cook until nicely browned. Flip and repeat.

Spread the fig jam over top, cut and DEVOUR!

The Everyday Chef and Wife Grilled Cheese with Fig Jam

Fig’s pair so well with cheeses to begin with, so putting it over top and mixes with the saltiness of the cheese makes all the taste buds in your mouth go crazy. I’m a huge fan of sweet and salty, and to have it in a sandwich form is almost too much for me to handle. It’s divine. 

Ooo apple jelly would make a great pairing as well… I’m going to go try that one out. Like right now.

Okbye.

Just go watch the video.

-The Everyday Chef and Wife

Leftover Strawberries and Balsamic Jam

One of my greatest pet peeves is food going bad. One of my greatest problems is, I let food go bad. Unfortunately it happens more often than I would like. You either forget about the object(s), or you don’t know what to do with it (them).  Fortunately I have found that making jams and jelly’s is one of the simplest and easiest ways to use up leftover fruit.

You can even use clearance fruit from the market for a cheap alternative. Like this strawberry balsamic jam, I picked up this pack of organic strawberries for $1.67 on sale and turned it into an gourmet jam that would normally cost easily $4+ at the store.

For the jam:

 1 regular size carton of strawberries
3/4-1 cup water
1/4 cup organic evaporated can juice (or regular sugar) — add more (optional) to taste
2-3 tsp balsamic vinegar

 Clean, de-stem, and quarter the strawberries. Add to medium size sauce pan. Add water and sugar. Cook for 20-30 min or until the strawberries have softened and the water and sugar have reduced into a syrup. Add in 1 tsp balsamic vinegar and mix in.
Blend together in a food processor or blender until smooth. Pour back into medium saucepan and add in another teaspoon of balsamic. (You can add more sugar or balsamic at this point to taste). Bring to boil and cook for a couple of minutes. Pour into small canning jar and cover. Place in refrigerator until cool. It’s ready to use! The Everyday Chef and Wife: Leftover Strawberries and Balsamic Jam

Also, we are excited to announce our premiere of our own YouTube channel with our very own food videos! This has been a passion of mine (The Wife) to get into video, and while I still have a looooot to learn, I am super excited to finally produce one! Subscribe to our channel for more food videos that show food technique, what we’re making, or just random McClearen lifestyle, all (or mostly) in our very well loved kitchen (aka there are probably messes in the background…)! Stay tuned! Also, we have been moving the blog over to a different server and are working out some of the kinks. If things look wonky, sit tight! It will all be back together soon. :)

 -The Everyday Chef and Wife

 

 

Leftover Strawberries and Balsamic Jam
Yields 1
A great way to use up those leftover (or clearance) strawberries that are sitting in the fridge!
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 regular size carton of strawberries
  2. 3/4-1 cup water
  3. 1/4 cup organic evaporated can juice (or regular sugar) -- add more (optional) to taste
  4. 2-3 tsp balsamic vinegar
Instructions
  1. Clean, de-stem, and quarter the strawberries. Add to medium size sauce pan. Add water and sugar. Cook for 20-30 min or until the strawberries have softened and the water and sugar have reduced into a syrup. Add in 1 tsp balsamic vinegar and mix in.
  2. Blend together in a food processor or blender until smooth. Pour back into medium saucepan and add in another teaspoon of balsamic. (You can add more sugar or balsamic at this point to taste). Bring to boil and cook for a couple of minutes. Pour into small canning jar and cover. Place in refrigerator until cool. It's ready to use!
The Everyday Chef and Wife http://blog.theeverydaychefandwife.com/

DIY Real Vanilla Extract

Well we’ve had an eventful year already. The Chef found out that he had a pretty good size hernia late last year, and the hospital couldn’t fit him in until the beginning of the year. The day of the surgery they told us he wouldn’t be up and moving for 3-4 days. Wrong. It was a good week before he was willingly getting up and moving on his own. So that was fun. But it’s taken me about two weeks to get back in the groove of things. Guess I can’t complain. When half of your team is down, it’s then you realize how much you depend on them!

One of the things that The Chef and I have been making ourselves for quite some time is homemade vanilla. It’s so incredibly easy, and your wallet will love it. A small bottle of real vanilla extract at the stores cost anywhere from $7 on up. What many people don’t know is real extract is more than likely just infused alcohol.

I think you see where I’m going with this.

We used a cheap clear 750ml bottle (or somewhere around that size) with a pop-top to hunker it down (or just use the vodka bottle if you’ll be using it all).

Filling the bottle with a vodka of your choice (we used Svedka because you can get a pretty big bottle of it at Costco for $21, good quality while still on the cheap side), cut open 2-4 vanilla beans, length-wise, and scrape the seeds out of the pod and into the bottle. Once the seeds are transferred, drop the pods in as well. Place somewhere safe for 2-3 weeks.

The Everyday Chef and Wife : DIY Homemade Vanilla Extract

The Everyday Chef and Wife DIY Homemade Vanilla Extract

Over the course of the weeks, you’ll see the alcohol start to turn tan, to a light amber, to brownish amber. This is the color we want! (Depending on how big your bottle is will depend on how many vanilla beans you will need to use. If after two weeks it’s still not dark enough, scrape out and add another bean for another week.) The Everyday Chef and Wife DIY Homemade Vanilla ExtractFilter out all bean pods at the end, when you have achieved the color. The Everyday Chef and Wife DIY Homemade Vanilla ExtractPour the extract back into the bottle and voilá! You now have a huge bottle of vanilla extract that tastes amazing and will lasts you months (if not years. However much you make sweets :) ) I go through mine in about 6 months. I definitely needed a cheaper version than the $7+ sample size bottle from the stores. Ugh. The Everyday Chef and Wife DIY Homemade Vanilla Extract

*Tip: The cheapest place the buy vanilla beans, that we’ve found, is World Market. You can find them in a small ziplock bag (not the bottle) for $2.99 for two beans. AMAZING! But if you know of another place that has them even cheaper, let us (and everyone else) know!!The Everyday Chef and Wife DIY Homemade Vanilla Extract

Did you know that the imitation vanilla and some vanilla extracts, aren’t even vanilla? They contain or are actually vanillin which is a common vanilla flavoring made out of a component found in wood. It is also easy to make synthetically. Not exactly what we’re looking for when preparing quality made foods, amiright? Read labels!

I hope you all are baking plenty and staying cozy!! Lets hope and pray for no more surgeries in 2015! YES LORD!

-The Everyday Chef and Wife

New Years Goal 2015- Something for the mind, body, and soul

We don’t like resolutions.

But we do like to think of goals of how to better ourselves in the next year. Something to strive for, giving a little room for set backs, but with enough motivation behind it to drive us through the year. The old saying “practice makes perfect” is getting a facelift, because no one is perfect. “Practice makes permanent” as our pastor just taught us last Sunday, are words to live by!

This year The Chef and I are slightly continuing our goal from last year, only with more oomph. We are going handmade and homemade, baby! Down to the wire as much as we possibly can. We are going to try to figure out how to make as much of our own food instead of buying processed, packaged foods.

We did pretty good last year, with making our own pizza, ice cream, pasta, mascarpone cheese, and various other things. But the problem was, we didn’t plan properly. We would make things here and there when we had time and thought of a new recipe to blog, and then when it was inconvenient, we would go out and buy the product. What’s that about?

Oh yea. I had no motivation.

This year I want to strive to make (and pre-make) as much of our food as we can. Also, keeping track of our grocery bill each month to see how much we’re actually saving. And on the way I really want to talk and learn more about what preservatives, gmo’s, fillers, and other unnecessary chemicals are being used in store bought items and how they effect our body.

We want to be healthy, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t going to use sugar, heavy cream, and butter, but we want to be wholesome in how we eat, in monitored portions. Because it’s not always what you eat, but how much. Moderation is key.

Obviously there are going to be things we can’t make, because unless The Chef is hiding the fact that he can crap an egg, I think we’re going to have to go the buying route. Where we are saving money on not buying convenient food, we’ll be putting it into better quality (organic, gmo free) products wherever we can.

There are going to be failures of recipes (oh so many…), and I know I’m going to want to quit. Please stand by us and be patient as we learn.

We are so excited with the changes and goals we are setting. Here we come 2015!

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- The Everyday Chef and Wife

Countdown to Christmas! Holiday shopping and dancing in cars

Today I escaped for a hot second out of the the chaos of a house being prepared for holiday festivities and went to Joann’s to buy some “filler gifts” and yarn, which I will never have enough of, despite what The Chef says. He’s crazy.

I put on my jolly hat, (it being jolly because the ball on top wiggles around when you move your head) and I cranked the music.

I cranked it LOUD.

And I danced HARD.

My poof ball was having a friggen hay day. I decided I was being a light unto the people around me, and I imagined them having an awful day amongst ba-humbugs, and the sight of seeing me with my magnificent poof ball moving gracefully with my incredibly head banging might have just made their day a tad bit brighter.

It sure as heck made my day a little brighter.

Merry Christmas er’body.

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The Wife

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