A VERY Bitter Christmas!

Hi Gang! We are almost in the home stretch.

Bittersweet Susie

In my family Christmas is a casual affair. We get together on Christmas Eve, draw names for a gift exchange, eat until we can’t move and are in bed by 9! Christmas day we just eat leftovers in pjs. I usually eat candy for breakfast to really keep with the manic sugar fuel frenzy that some of us get when we go all in to the holiday spirit.

Bittersweet Susie

What are your traditions?

Today is my BAKING MARATHON DAY! I am pretty excited about it. Also, I have pretty much watched EVERY holiday movie and special there is, some of them twice (I am looking at you White Christmas). I, as I do every year, had GREAT PLANS for all the crafty things I was going to make and per usual I did almost NONE of them. Typical. There is always next year!

I DID manage to make these cute mid century putz-style glitter house inspired from a tutorial on Retro Renovation. It is one of my FAVORITE blogs if you have not had the chance to check it out.

Bittersweet Susie

I also made these HOMEMADE Vanilla Extract that I posted here a few days ago. Look at me posting TWICE in the same month.

And as a HOLIDAY Tradition here on the blog I have for you the 2016 Bittersweet Christmas Playlist! I had a theme going for a minute. First a Country Christmas, then it was a bluesy Christmas and now it is just A RANDOM CHRISTMAS! Like our year this playlist has some ups, some downs, and some total turds! Not everything can be the best thing you ever heard, right? I will be listening today while I finish up (or start) wrapping, and baking, and meditating on being the MOST FESTIVE I can be!

Bittersweet Susie

Cheers to a great Holiday!

No homework! CHRISTMAS VACATION!

 

Last Minute Gifts – DIY Vanilla Extract

Oh crap! Christmas is a week away! Are you ready? Do you have all your gifts wrapped? Cards sent? Meals planned? NO!?! Me either.

That is the joy of the holidays, seems like it goes on forever (with no help from christmas decorations showing up earlier and earlier each year) but it sneaks up on you and bites you square in the butt!

Dearest friends I have a super easy last-minute gift for you to make!

Vanilla Extract!

Bittersweet Susie | DIY Vanilla Extract

Ohhhhh fancy

What you need:

• Booze

• Glass bottle with tight fitting lid

• Whole vanilla beans

This is seriously the easiest gift to make – and is something that I (as a frequent baker) go through fairly quickly.

First you need some BOOZE. I have seen homemade vanilla made from a number of spirits. Vodka, bourbon, rum and someone even used GIN! Vodka is a good place to start – sort of blank canvas for the vanilla beans but bourbon also sounded like it would be good – I think I am going to try RUM in another batch.

Bittersweet Susie | DIY Vanilla Extract

I raided my fathers liquor cabinet for this little project. My parents are always reliable for a good bar stash!

Dad gave me some of this Bakers Bourbon to use – the bottle was practically empty before I used it – SHUT UP – it wasn’t ME.

I don’t think he got that I wasn’t going to drink it straight. I didn’t have the heart to tell him.

Bittersweet Susie | DIY Vanilla Extract

Filled your cleaned bottles with your booze of choice! These little stopper bottles came from Cost Plus.

Next – fresh vanilla beans! I get mine from this AWESOME spice shop in Santa Barbara store called Vices and Spices. They ship! They also have amazing teas and coffee.

Make sure your vanilla beans are not dried out.

Bittersweet Susie | DIY Vanilla Extract

Cut off the ends – but keep them! Don’t waste the vanilla! Slit the beans open so they can get completely infused – I also cut mine in half because they fit in the bottle easier and they need to be completely submerged.

Bittersweet Susie | DIY Vanilla Extract

I used two beans per bottle.

Shake up your concoction and warp it up for a friend. I have no friends so these are FOR ME.

Give them a good shake and let them sit in a cool dark place for a month. Some people leave it longer for a stronger vanilla flavor. Just check on it weekly for a good SHAKE SHAKE and to make sure the beans are still fully submerged.

Bittersweet Susie | DIY Vanilla Extract

The great thing about these is that it lasts practically forever (or until the beans flavor weekends)

Always make sure beans are fully covered in liquid. I top mine of every time I use it – NEVERENDING VANILLA EXTRACT!

YAY! You domestic badass! People are going to be impressed with your fancy gift!

Here are some posts of Christmas’s PAST to get you through this holiday:

Christmas Tree Skirt Tutorial

Christmas Dance Party Playlist

Holiday Craft Bonanza – part 2

DIY Wrapping Paper


Stay tuned this week for this years Christmas Playlist  – and check out my instagram for all my holiday baking for the BIG DAY. I hope Santa is down with paleo.

Homework:

• What are you making for your holiday meals?

• What dishes or desserts are tradition that you MUST MAKE year after year?

• The best homemade gift you made or received? 

 

2016 Thanksgiving Playlist – Thankful ISHHHHHH

Hi friends!  Hows the cooking going?!? I am onto the 4th pie I have made this week! WOOOO the Holidays!

This is what I look like

I know it is the super busy this time of year, and 2016 has been HARD. Too damn hard. It’s hard for me to try to be funny on here or have anything cute and kitsch to post. I need to remember to be thankful and content in what is good. There have of course been wonderful things that have happened (cute babies being born to lovely friends) and lots of dogs and cats to pet and take care of! There has been some good tv – REALLY good tv – and good books to read. There has not been a shortage on BOOZE – so YAY for that. And there is always chocolate to eat. See, good good things.

Even though it is a holiday I have given myself homework and I am assigning it to you to. Break out those post-it notes you have in your junk drawer and WRITE DOWN the things you are thankful for right now. Go ahead and do it…I’ll wait.

Now post one in the kitchen where you are cooking today, or on top of the tv, or the computer. Put one in your medicine cabinet. And all day (even if you aren’t having the greatest of holidays or your fam is mean or annoying or someone made REALLY dry turkey) look at your post-its and remind yourself that “Yea! I AM THANKFUL FOR VODKA!”

You don’t have to be PC, be selfish and silly. I am thankful for comfy cotton unds that don’t ride up. I am thankful for Gilmore girls having new episodes. I am thankful for group text messaging.

Here is mine:

bittersweet Susie | Thankful

Obviously there are a number of things that you could write down, we all have some pretty great things going on in our lives despite the bad but I just want you to write down three. Do it for me, ok?

I promised the 2016 Thanksgiving playlist yesterday and HERE IT IS!

Crank it up! It is totally fine for
mixed company! I promise Grandpa will enjoy this playlist!

And I have made a master playlist of all previous Thanksgiving so you can stream it for your party and not be bothered with that terrible dinner music mom likes to sneak on sometimes! (sorry mom you know I love Rod Stewart too)

I will be adding music all day !

And if you are feeling fancy check out some posts from previous Thanksgivings! I think there is a recipe for PIE in there if you are scrambling and don’t know how the internet works!

Have a great holiday friends!