Tag Archives: desserts

Cookbook Review and a DIY Project: Homemade Vanilla Extract


If you are on the GAPS Diet…or contemplating the GAPS Diet…you really want to get the “Internal Bliss” cookbook.  Even if you’re not on GAPS, all the recipes are “real food” based and can be appreciated by anyone.  Some of the recipes include:  Guacamole (my favorite), Ranch Dip (equally awesome), Barbecue Sauce (on the stove right now), a Carrot Soup recipe that is “curried” and to die for, and a kick-butt recipe for Asian-Style Coleslaw.   I don’t remember how many recipes are included in this but it is a wide range of nut and seed prep, condiments and sauces, soups (of course), salads, desserts, ferments, breads and so on.  Best $14.95 I’ve ever spent.  Ok, well maybe that’s an exaggeration but it’s close. 🙂

And one of my favorites is a “how to” recipe for making your own vanilla extract!  And here is all you need:

This is a pic of the finished product, but you get the jist.  All you need is what you see, and about five minutes of your time.  Planning ahead is good though, because it will take you awhile to get the finished product.

Homemade Vanilla Extract (from the “Internal Bliss” cookbook)

1 oz (approximately 6) vanilla beans (I got mine here)

One standard bottle of vodka (plain old Smirnoff from the muni liquor store)

Split your vanilla beans in half lengthwise.  Pour out a few ounces of vodka – not much – to make room for the vanilla beans.  Place the split vanilla beans in the bottle with the vodka and secure the lid.  Store in a cool, dark, place – shaking occasionally – for two or more months.  And that’s it!!!!!  Doesn’t get much easier than that!

When your vanilla extract is ready, it will have a deep caramel color and will smell delicious.  And yes, it is delicious in baked goods, etc.!

You might ask…”Why the heck would you want to make your own vanilla?  Can’t you just buy it at the store?”   Well…..first of all, most store bought vanilla has all kinds of obnoxious petroleum (yeah, you read that right) based ingredients.  If you see things like “propylene glycol, caramel color, and sodium benzoate”…RUN!  Sodium benzoate is one of the fastest burning rocket fuels and is also an ingredient in fireworks.  Sounds yummy, huh?  I don’t eat oil, or rocket fuel.  I did at one point in my life but I refuse to now.

Second…sometimes it just feels really really cool to make your own things that you just took for granted that you had to buy – good sense of accomplishment.  The kids like to be part of these little “experiments” too.

Third…we have been gluten free for over a year now, and frankly – I’m sick to death of paying $9.99 or more for a teeny tiny bottle of vanilla that will last me two weeks if I’m lucky.  I figure that I paid around $20 for a gynormous amount of vanilla by the time it was all said and done.  Kind of a “cost no-brainer”!!!


This post was shared at The Healthy Home Economist’s Monday Mania; The Morris Tribe’s Homesteader Blog Carnival; The Better Mom’s Mondays Link Up; The Prairie Homestead’s Homestead Barn Hop; Living with Food Allergies and Celiac Disease Made from Scratch Monday; Real Food  Forager’s Fat Tuesdays; Simply Sugar and Gluten Free’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays; Like a Mustard Seed’s Living Green Tuesdays; Cooking Traditional Foods Traditional Tuesdays; The Tasty Alternative’s Allergy Free Wednesdays; Whole New Mom’s Allergy Free Wednesday’s; Laura’s Gluten Free Pantry’s Allergy Free Wednesdays; Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesdays; Frugally Sustainable’s Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways; GNOWFGLINS Simple Lives Thursday; The Nourishing Gourmet’s Pennywise Platter; Real Food Freaks Freaky Friday; The Liberated Kitchen’s GAPS Friendly Fridays; The 21st Century Housewife’s Gallery of Favorites; Premeditated Leftovers Gallery of Favorites; Too  Many Jars in My Kitchen’s Fill Those Jars Friday;

Chocolate Cherry Coconut Milk Ice Cream (GAPS, SCD, gluten free, grain free, dairy free)


This was soooo good!  The cherries were an afterthought…and I’m glad I added them!  I tried to take some pics when it was done, but they simply did not do it justice so I’m posting pictureless tonight…

Chocolate Cherry Coconut Milk Ice Cream

3 – 8.45 oz boxes of coconut milk (get it here)

3 T. raw honey

6-7 T. raw cacao (get it here)

1 avocado, peeled and pitted

1 T. vanilla extract

1/2 c. chopped walnuts

2 c. pitted and halved black cherries

Blend the coconut milk, avocado, honey, cacao and vanilla in a blender until very smooth.  You should not be able to see the avocado.  Put all in ice cream maker (we have this kind and I love it! ) and let it do it’s thing.  I waited to add the nuts and cherries until it started to get a little thickened.  Enjoy!!!

Coconutty Banana Ice Cream (GAPS, SCD, dairy free, gluten free, soy free, egg free, sugar free)


Our family is a big fan of this “ice cream”.  The few ingredients make this ideal as we are dealing with various food allergies…and thankfully…no one is allergic to banana!!!

This makes five servings so you can adjust accordingly…

6 peeled frozen bananas

1/4 c. coconut oil

1/2 c. coconut flakes or shredded coconut

Mix all in food processor.  We like ours with chopped walnuts.  I have also done “banana splits” and added pureed thawed frozen strawberries and fresh chopped pineapple over the top.  Enjoy!