Friday, December 17, 2010

Homemade Kahlua... Nothing Could Be More Simple

For the last (I don't know how many) years I've been giving pretty much the same thing to everyone, every year, for Christmas. One glass jar of peach jam and one glass jar of my hot chow-chow. This is the year I finally decided to *change things up*, for which I'm sure the recipients will appreciate the upgrade. Anything gets boring after monotony, right?

Although I hadn't planned on making the Chow-Chow this year, a friend dropped dozens of green tomatoes in my lap, so I have a sufficient amount of that for the Christmas *goodie bag*. However, I didn't make Peach Jam this year so I decided I'd make Kahlua and present them in really gorgeous blue glass bottles. When I ran out of those I used some old Grolsch beer bottles that I'd been saving for just this project (who knew?). They also had the same kind of closures, which is perfect.

I found the blue glass bottles with tops on line at Quality Wine & Ale Supply for approximately $4.50 each (when buying a case, including shipping costs). Of course, it's like trying solve a Rubik's cube puzzle getting the hardware on the bottle properly but I did eventually figure it out (a no-brainer really - duh).

Anyhoo, here is the easiest ever recipe for making your own Kahlua at home:


3-1/2 cups of sugar

1/2 cup instant coffee

3 cups water

1/4 teaspoon salt

2-1/2 cups of 100 proof vodka (or 80 proof if you prefer)

2 vanilla beans (slit to expose the seeds) or 1 tablespoon of real vanilla extract


1. In a 3-4 quart saucepan, stir sugar and coffee. 

2. Add water and salt, heating over a high heat until sugar dissolves.

3. Bring to a boil.

4. Reduce heat and boil gently for 1 hour.

5. Remove from heat.

6. Allow to cool for at least an hour.

7. Stir in vodka and vanilla, then bottle.

Give to friends and family and enjoy the compliments. One of my favorites ways to serve my Kahlua to guests is to pour it over homemade (or not) vanilla ice cream...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Seven Layer Dip... Always A Crowd Pleaser

This last weekend I was invited to the annual Desert Duffer Gals Christmas Pajama Party & Gift Exchange, for which we are required to bring our best dish. So, I took Seven Layer Dip, which everyone loves. This is my group of gal pals that makes up our golf tournament club, including our husbands. However, the guys aren't invited to this soiree.

Everyone wears PJ's, brings a gift worth $25.00 or less, and stealing of said gifts is allowed, to a limit. The food is always to die for and we have always have Mimosas as well as whatever other libations are presented to us.

So, I decided to make Seven Layer Dip this year and it was a huge hit. I barely had any left for bringing home to the hubby. Hope you're excited because here it is:

Seven Layer Dip:


1 (1 ounce) package of taco seasoning

1 (16 ounce can) refried beans

1 (16 ounce) container of light sour cream

1 (16 ounce) container salsa

1 large tomato, chopped

2 bunches of green onions, finely chopped

2 packages of ready made guacamole

2 cups of Monterrey Jack & cheddar cheese, grated

1 (6 ounce) can of chopped black olives

1. Begin by blending the salsa with the refried beans. Spread on dish for the bottom layer.

2. Blend taco seasoning in with sour cream.

3. Spread sour cream mixture over refried beans.

4. Spread guacamole over sour cream mixture.

5. Sprinkle chopped tomatoes over dish.

7. Sprinkle green onions over dish.

8. Next, add the cheese mixture.

9. Sprinkle the chopped black olives over the entire dish, evenly.

Serve with sturdy corn chips or tostados.

Sit back and bask in the light of all the compliments you'll receive.