I admit. I had no idea 1.) how vanilla extract was made or 2.) that it could be made in one's home.  Then, my wonderful cousin Lauren surprised me and other family members with these:

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Aren't they the cutest? And it turns out Lauren was ahead of none other than Ms. Martha! Because I opened Martha Stewart Living this month (Christmas gift!), and this is what I see.

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Lauren is so cutting-edge. What really surprised me is how EASY it is. I'm going to shorten this, but basically, you take vanilla beans, scrape out the seeds, and stick the pods in bottles with vodka…and then shake them every day for a month or two. That's it! I'm so going to try this one day once Lauren's runs out. I'm wondering if I can do the same with anise extract!

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