Welcome to Tips and Tricks Tuesday, the one day out of the week that I share some helpful tips with my readers to simplify and organize their lives. I have a very simple tip for you today. It's a recipe! I haven't given out recipes on my blog, mainly because cooking is not my "passion" in any way, shape, or form. Don't get me wrong; I do cook. In fact , I cook every single day! At breakfast, lunch and dinner time you can usually find me in the kitchen whipping up some kind of consumable and somewhat healthy concoction. I've been cooking for my family for 18years, so I'm not terrible at it. My kids even think I should go on Iron Chef America, which I just love the fact they think mom is a great cook (but I'm definitely not an iron chef or any kind of "medal" type chef).
I've learned to follow recipes, and I've learned to make meals that are healthy and inexpensive. But, if somehow I lost my mind and didn't care how much eating out cost, then I'd be visiting every restaurant in town just so I could ignore and neglect my stove and forgo cooking all together. No, actually, I change my mind. I'd hire a personal chef! Yeah, that's what I'd do! I'd have someone else cook for...ME! And not macaroni and cheese which is usually the case when someone cooks for...not mentioning any names.
But in my real world, I cook- everyday, every night, 7 days a week- usually. It's the little things we do for our families right? I'm sure I'll be sharing some of my frugal and tasty recipes as this blog continues, but for today, let me just share my simple homemade syrup.
I read many years ago about the ingredients that go into store bought syrup. They were bad. They were really bad. So I switched from "pancake syrup" found in all the grocery aisles to "Real" Maple syrup. Real Maple syrup is tastier and made from real ingredients. The problem with Real Maple Syrup is that it come with a Really expensive price tag. Trader Joe's and Costco have a great price for the real thing, but I still had a problem shelling out $20 for the sweet treat. So my mamma brain, other wise known as the cheap and frugal side of me, went into high gear. I wondered could I "make" real maple syrup? So I searched for internet recipes and found a few I narrowed down and changed to what we have now been using in our family for the past two years. This is my homemade version of Syrup....wow, that was a long intro.
Making home made syrup is EASY and even better it's quick! For those of us who are "cooking" challenged or just don't don't have a "passion" for cooking, this is a major plus. First, gather up your ingredients. Here they are:
1 cup Water
1 cup Brown Sugar (light or dark)
1 cup Sugar
1 Tb Vanilla or Maple Extract (the real thing, not imitation)
I use Vanilla Extract because real Maple Extract is impossible to find in any store. I've checked -all of them- really. No one carries Pure Maple extract, even those stores where you can spend your "whole check" because they carry healthy, organic, blah, blah, blah stores. Imitation is everywhere, but pure extract is a mystery? wrapped in an enigma? You can order pure maple extract from Amazon though. Two brands I like are HERE and HERE. Pricey compared to vanilla extract, but it certainly gives your Maple syrup that Maple syrup flavor. Amazing how that works isn't? Vanilla, is similar to maple though and my family (kids especially) don't think it taste much different.
So here's the process:
1. Bring 1 cup of water to a rolling boil in a saucepan.
2. Add 1 cup of sugar and stir until it until it dissolves completely.
3. Add the brown sugar and let it dissolve.
4. Add 1 Tb of the extract of your choice. Stir. ( Use more or less to fit your taste. You can also combine both vanilla and maple extract for the best taste- according to me :-. You can also add butter or butter flavoring- yum!)
5. Cook over medium heat for a few minutes. You'll see the extract produce big bubbles from the alcohol burning off. Once that happens, turn off your heat and let it stand to thicken.
I store my syrup in a glass jar and keep it in the fridge. Sugar crystal will form at the bottom sometimes, but when you're ready to use it again, you can heat it up by placing it in bath of hot water or warm it up in the microwave.
That's it. That's our easy home made version of "maple" syrup. Sweet and tasty!