Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Cheap homemade Irish Cream

I wouldn't be considered much of a drinker in most circles.  But during the colder months, my alcoholic beverage of choice is a shot of Irish Cream in a cup of coffee.  There's Bailey's, Carol Ann's and a few other brands.  All good stuff.  All 20 miles away.  When the weather is nasty cold and I want a cup of coffee with a glug of Irish Cream, the last thing I want to do is get in the car and drive to get a bottle.

So, being the cheap AKA frugal person I strive to be, I wanted a recipe.  I have tried several, some of which cost as much to make as a bottle of the real stuff cost.  Finally someone gave me their recipe that uses cheap, rot gut whiskey and other cheap ingredients.  No, it's not as good as Carol Ann's and it's definitely not Bailey's, but it's not bad at all in a cuppa joe.

In this recipe, I use all store brand or private label ingredients.  It's also pretty flexible for your own tastes.  Every batch I make is somewhat different as I tend not to measure...sorry.

1 can sweetened condensed milk (or make your own sub - recipe below)
3 cans evaporated milk
several drops or more of imitation coconut flavoring
1 to 2 TB chocolate syrup
1/2 cup strong coffee
2 three ounce packages of instant vanilla pudding mix
1/2 to 1 cup whiskey, depending on how boozy you want it

Blend it all together with a stick blender, store in frig.  It might thicken up a bit, so add either more coffee or more whiskey, whatever your tastes are.  I have tried to make small batches in a wide mouth bottle, just shaking it instead of busting out the stick blender.  Trust me, this does not work.  I always end up with blops, blops and clumps of pudding no matter how much I shake it.  So use your blender, stick blender or mixer.

I have used instant coffee (brand name), but I thought it tasted better with regular coffee.  I'm going to make a fresh pot of coffee if I'm making Irish Cream, so I started using real coffee instead.

Sweetened Condensed Milk Substitute

1/3 cup boiling water
3 TB butter
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup nonfat dry milk

Melt the butter in the boiling water, add the sugar and stir well.  Add the dry milk and blend well,  This will thicken as you blend.  This recipe makes about 14 oz and can be used in place of one can of purchased sweetened condensed milk.  Make it when you need it as it won't store well.

There are also recipes for evaporated milk substitutes, but I have never used all subs in the Irish Cream recipe.  I always wonder if it's going to make it taste like powdered milk...not my favorite flavor.

I just made a batch, so if you're close by, come on over.  Coffee pot is on.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Babysitting goats

I have the coolest neighbor.  Stacy and her husband have lived around the corner for a couple years, but it's been in the past few months that we have struck up a friendship.  We have a lot of things in common and one of the best things is that our husbands even like each other!  Like she said, how rare is it that you all really like each other?

No one could ever call these people lazy.  They just flat get with it, no matter what the project is.  I used to be called the #1 project minded wife, but I have to pass the title on to Stacy.  Wow, plans and more plans, written down, graphed out, subject to change if a better idea comes along.  They are good scroungers for necessary materials, but not afraid to buy what they need.  They'll drop what they're doing to come help us, give us a call if they need an extra pair of hands. A while back they asked if we wanted to split a cow with them.  Now they're getting two calves in the spring, raising them and having them processed in the fall.  One for us, one for them.  It's going to be hard for me to eat something that I have personally met, but eventually I'll get over it.  Pass the BBQ sauce.
And they have a tractor that we can borrow anytime. You gotta love 'em.

They decided a while back to get into the goat raising business for a retirement job.  I kept bugging Stacy about milking said goats.  If you have never had fresh goat milk, you're missing out on the good stuff.  Wowser!  Anyway, she was determined NOT to milk the goats, but said that I could.  Hmmm....no thanks.  Then she saw how much goat milk soap sold for.  Bingo!  Now we're making practice batches of soap, looking forward to having some fresh milk to make soap....or lotion....or cheese.  I'm not sure if she's planning on me milking these critters.  I'm almost afraid to ask.

They have several acres of ground that they'd like to plant in alfalfa to help cut their feed bills for the goats.  I just happen to have a couple of acres behind our place that's orchard grass with a fair amount of weeds.  So, a bunch of her goats are going to hang out here for the spring and summer.  I'll have to make sure they get locked up at night and have fresh water, but that's no biggie.  We have a couple ideas for a shelter, and some electric fencing will keep them in their designated areas.  I hope.  At least she's around the corner if I have any problems, right? 

The whole thing sounds like a win/win situation.  They will still have some goats there, will be taking care of the cow critter destined for our freezer, and can plant the acres they want without having to pasture all the goats there.  I'll get the beef for minimal costs, maybe some el cheapo (or free?) goat milk and my weeds mowed down.  It's a plan!