The Vodka I Didn’t Drink

Last week I posted this picture to Facebook. Do you follow us on Facebook?

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The shot was meant to feature our new dog (and her fabulous kissy face). We call her Maxine (Max for short). I say we call her “Max” ’cause that’s not officially her name…yet. The eight year old beauty shares a name with one of my daughters, actually. And while my daughter thought that was so cool, her mother felt differently about it. So, we call her “Max”. She’s beginning to answer to it. She comes, sits, stays, protects…Max is the new love of our lives. She’s good around chickens and has a ferocious bark (which is what I was looking for).

When I saw that the picture featured something else, too, I posted to Facebook that I needed a bottle of vodka (and that the reason could be spotted in the picture). Do you see what I saw? Right behind Mr. P’s head?

The plant behind his head was actually the shortest of the stevia plants. Yep, the day I had been waiting for had come. The stevia was ready to harvest!

I realize that this wonderment produced by ample stevia may not be something you can all relate to. I am, however, two full months into a one-year, no sugar healing plan. Stevia is the only sweetener I can have, and I have to turn my nose up at all of the so-called stevia in my grocery store. So I’ve really been looking forward to this.

I picked, washed, and dried a large batch of stevia leaves, and then I headed to Wal Mart for groceries and vodka.


The check-out line is where things got interesting.

We had a cart-full, like we always do. The kids love to unload the cart, and I love to not have to unload it. Miss S grabbed the decent sized bottle of medium quality vodka and plunked it down on the belt beside a loaf of gluten free sandwich bread and a large tub of organic spinach. That’s when the wrist to neck tattoo behind the register looked straight into my eyes and said bluntly, “I cannot sell you that.”

Now, y’all know that grocery shopping with kids is not exactly a walk in the park. I had reached the finish line, and I was just eagerly begging  to cross it. I searched for the little sign informing me that my line was not the line for liquor. I looked at the fully loaded belt before me and wondered just how badly I needed that stevia. The checker saw my confusion and reached his hand for the bottle. “He has a solution in mind!” I thought. I always assume the best, y’all. But when he began to explain my predicament to me, the scene went a little something like this:

“Ma’am,” he said with a glint of power in his communist eyes, “a minor put that bottle on the belt, and I have the right to refuse to sell it to you.”

In my head I thought, “AAAHHHHH!”

Out-loud I said, “A minor? Do you mean my nine year old daughter who was helping unload our groceries?”

“Yes,” he said. “She handled the bottle. I have the right to refuse to sell it to you.”

In my head I thought, “What?!” And I looked at him through squinted eyes that feigned a willingness for confrontation.

Out-loud I muttered, with just enough confidence to impress my watching children, “Well, then can you please change your mind?”

“I can call my manager and let you speak to them, but they usually agree with me, ” he said with the worst kind of self-assurance.

In my head I thought, “Oh, some stuff is gonna hit the fan.”

Out-loud I said, “Yes, would you please call your manager.”

And at the end of the day, I made this:

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Fill the jar with dried stevia, cover in vodka for 20-48 hours (somewhere in the middle is best, taste-wise). Strain out the leaves and reduce the extract over low heat for 30 minutes. Done!



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