Thursday, October 14, 2010


Yes, that's really is Justine! Oh, sorry you must be talking about the other lady, yes that really is Kirstie Alley! This is an old shot, about 4 years ago. Back when Barry was working part-time for United Airlines we were able to travel quite a bit and often in first class, and one time she and I were seat-mates in first class on a flight from LAX to Oklahoma City. Crazy huh? She was super sweet and very talkative, shared her magazines with me and chatted about her children and redecorating her home. However there is also one other thing that she did and that is why this picture is included in this post.

She gave me a bottle of vodka. You know the little bottles that they have on the airplanes? Well, she had gone to the restroom and when she came back she asked for two bottles. When the overly eager male flight attendant obliged while winking at me (what was that for?), she handed one to me and said, "When you get off this plane, wash your kids hands with this, it is a great disinfectant and planes are just so nasty!" then she followed that by saying, "I used to always keep it around my house for disinfecting until I noticed it kept coming up empty, I guess it's not a great thing to have in your house when your housekeeper is an alcoholic!" (insert laughter here) So here I am, holding my bottle of um.....disinfectant and trying not to bust out laughing because this whole scenario is just crazy! I mean right off the bat it's a bit awkward. Like when you sit down, I obviously know who she is, she obviously knows I know who she is, and yet how do you break the ice? "So how's Ted Danson?", "Been to Boston lately?", "How about that talking baby movie, that Travolta is something, huh?", "Wow, some guts you have, going on Oprah in just a bikini!" Uh-no, those were not going to work. And I wasn't even going to touch on the subject of Jenny Craig lest she suggest it for me! So, what jewel of a conversation opener did I come up with? Well, fortunately she began the conversation first, so to fill in the gap and to express interest I mentioned that I saw Nate Berkus remodel her kitchen on Oprah! (Don't judge me, I am a sucker for any kind of makeover show! LOL) Anyway, since that time that little bottle has stayed tucked back in a corner of a cabinet at my mom's house as a funny memento of that trip.

Now, come with me to 2010 when I live in a country where the groceries I want are not always available. One of them being vanilla. You know, you need vanilla for a lot of yummy foods and it is disheartening when you cannot find it. So one day while lamenting my lack of vanilla-ness. Several of the ladies here mentioned that they make their own! What? Who knew? So what do I need? And the answer was, some vanilla beans and a bottle guessed it, vodka! So they tell me that they usually buy the vodka in the capitol city or in Bali and that you can also find the vanilla beans in Bali. So that was my plan, next year from Bali I would bring home the goods and become a vanilla connoisseur! However while I was on my Ladies retreat (blog coming soon on that one) we were waiting to fly from Batam to our island when we noticed they have chocolate! Not just any chocolate, but Hershey's, Snickers, M&M's etc. So while stopping to buy some....what?....It was for the kids, of course :) "J" noticed that they had duty free vodka so she would be able to make her vanilla! So she asked if I wanted to get some and I mentioned that I didn't have any vanilla beans to which "L" piped up and said she had plenty to share! So off I went to buy my bottle of vodka....and it felt weird! Just saying! I hesitated to blog on this for fear of judgement but I figure everyone uses vanilla and it is all made out of the same stuff so..... Here are some pictures of the process:

Well, at least it wasn't in a brown paper bag!

Getting ready to mix the concoction

You have to slice the vanilla beans longways and then make slits cross ways then open it up a bit, and on a side note if any of you do this, the vanilla beans take up more space than you think and so as I put the beans in the vodka spilled over, so you might want to pour a little out...please don't drink it!

Last step, you place the vanilla beans into the vodka and let it sit in a dark place for a few weeks and wallah (how do you spell that anyway?), you have vanilla!

This is it on week two, and as you can see it is turning into vanilla, yay!!

So the next time you go to Wal-Mart, Crest or visit Mexico (which is by far some of the best vanilla in the world) and buy your thankful!!


rocky said...

Do I see an AA meeting in your future. This is funny. :) I hope guys are doing well.

The Woods Family said...

So cool! It is amazing what we can miss. We can only get artificial vanillin powder here. I have friends bring it from the the States. Things do taste much better with it. We went 2 years with only the powder stuff. It was not the same. Post the finished product when it is done.((HUGS)) and Blessings to your family.

joan said...

every time of using vanilla (when baking) i'll remember u & kristi allen (lol)

Zimms Zoo said...

I have always wanted to try this. Let us know how it works out.

mi familia said...

And always, Always, ALWAYS keep a close eye on the house cleaner... you never know.

Sonya said...

That is so interesting and funny! Thanks for the great story!

Dara Steward said...

Just now reading this post... I have a batch of my own brewing since May. The longer you let it "marinate" the better, I hear! It smells amazing even now. And I also read that you can leave the beans as you use it and add vodka so it reinfuses. The beans last awhile and can make a couple batches! Looking forward to how yours turns out.

Dara from SHBC

Josiah said...

Funny story! We put open vanilla beans in a closed container of sugar and shake it up every few days. In a few weeks you will have vanilla sugar which is also great in baking.