Category Archives: miscellaneous

Soup Mix in a Jar


Soup Mix in a Jar
Your friends and family will love this pretty soup mix in a jar that makes a nice, easy supper!
Use different colored ingredients for a festive look.

Layer in a pint jar, as listed (top ingredient at the top
of the jar):
1/3 cup uncooked pasta (to fill the jar) (we used whole wheat mini-shells)
1/4 cup dry lentils (orange)
1/4 cup split peas (yellow)
1/4 cup uncooked rice
1/4 cup dry split peas (green)
2 T. pearl barley
1/4 cup lentils (dark green or brown)
1 bay leaves
2 T beef, chicken or veggie bouillon granules (or two cubes)
2 T cup dried onion flakes
1/4 t. black pepper
1 t. dried garlic powder or flakes
1/2 t. dried Italian seasoning

In a pint jar, layer the ingredients as listed. Using a jar funnel will help keep messes to a minimum. At the top, wrap the pasta in plastic wrap, and place in the jar. Add enough pasta to completely fill the jar all the way to the top (this will help keep the layers from shifting). Seal tightly. You can cover with decorative cloth and tie with a ribbon or string (Use a rubber band to secure, then remove the rubber band after the ribbon is tied).
Attach an instructions label to the jar.
Include the tomatoes, sauce, and some cornbread mix, if you like!

INSTRUCTIONS (tie this label to your jar)

How to make Soup in a Jar
1 half pound ground beef, turkey, pork, ham, or Italian sausage, or leave out the meat for a vegan version!
8 cups water
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce

TO PREPARE SOUP: Remove pasta from top of jar, and set aside. In a 6 qt pot over medium heat, brown beef; drain excess fat. Add soup mix, tomatoes, and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover, and simmer 1 hour. Stir in the tomato sauce; bring to a boil, add pasta. Cover and simmer 30 minutes. Serve with fresh cornbread. The person who finds the bay leaf gets to do the dishes! (serves 4-6)


Ginger Syrup

ginger syrup

Ginger Syrup

2 cups sugar
1 six-inch piece fresh ginger
2 cups water

Scrub, rinse, and finely dice or slice the ginger (no need to peel). Place sugar, ginger, and water in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook 1-2 hours, until syrup has reduced. Let cool. Pour ginger and syrup into a glass quart jar and refrigerate overnight. Strain the next day. Keep syrup refrigerated up to a month.

Suggested uses:

Ginger-Lemon Soother: To relieve a sore throat, use 2 T. ginger syrup and the juice of half a lemon in a mug of hot water.

Ginger-Mint Sparkler: Combine 1/2 cup ginger syrup, 1/4 cup lime juice, and 1 cup seltzer water. Crush a couple mint leaves into the drink. Serve over ice.

Add 1-2 T. of Ginger Syrup to hot or cold tea, lemonade, orange or apple juice.

Drizzle hot or cold Ginger Syrup over fruits. It’s especially good with pears or pineapple.

Extra-delicious over Gingerbread Pancakes!

(Adjust measurements to your taste. The strength and thickness of ginger syrup varies.)

Green Goddess Fresh Basil Dressing

green goddess

Green Goddess Dressing
(This recipe is from my friend, Nancy)

Wonderful way to use fresh basil.  If you don’t have whole buttermilk, add a little more sour cream.

1 1/2 cups firmly packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup whole buttermilk
2 T. apple cider vinegar
1/2 shallot, sliced
1 cup mayonnaise (such as Hellman’s or Duke’s)
1 cup sour cream
Salt and black pepper to taste

Process ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth. Serve dressing immediately, or cover and chill. 

Note: I store this dressing in glass or plastic with a non-metal lid, to prevent the acid from reacting with the metal.

Sweet Lime Pickles

Sweet Lime Pickles

These are the pickles my mother has always made. They have the sweet-tart, translucent crunchiness that makes my mouth water and pucker at the same time. They are delicious as part of potato salad. A ham or turkey sandwich would be pretty ‘blah’ without them. And they belong on my favorite grilled cheese sandwich, too.

(Makes 3 quarts)

1 gallon of sliced cucumbers

Place in a mixture of 2 quarts water and ½ C. pickling lime. Refrigerate for 24 hours. Rinse well to remove the lime and soak one hour in clear, cold water.

Bring to a boil:
6 C. white vinegar
6 C. sugar
2 T. (or more) pickling spice

You can enclose the spice in a cloth sack or leave it loose in the pickles, as desired. (I prefer it in a sack. Remove when packing jars.)

Bring to a boil again and cook 25 minutes, carefully stirring occasionally. Pack in jars and seal hot.

sweet lime pickles on ham sammy
Sweet Lime Pickles on a ham sammy

Homemade Old-fashioned Low-fat Granola

granola with apricots

Old-Fashioned Low-fat Granola
2 lb. 10 oz. box regular rolled oats (12-16 cups)
1 cup wheat germ
5 oz. (2 cups) coconut
8.5 oz. (2 cups) sunflower seeds
1 oz. (1/4 cup) sesame seeds
3 oz. (3/4 cup) broken pecans
3 oz. (3/4 cup) sliced almonds (or any nut you like)
2 oz. (1/2 cup) pumpkin seeds (they add a touch of green to the mixture, but you could substitute a
different nut or seed)

Mix all dry ingredients in a huge bowl.

dry ingredients for granola
dry ingredients for granola

Meanwhile, heat together:

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup honey
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1 T. cinnamon
1 T. vanilla

Stir together until warm and the sugar is dissolved. Pour over the dry ingredients and stir to coat.

Spray two large, huge, gigantic pans with butter-flavor cooking spray. Or, bake in two batches on two large jelly roll pans. Spread the granola mixture into the pans and bake at 325 degrees for about 30-40 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes or so. Watch carefully toward the end of the time and do not let the mixture get too brown around the edges. When the granola is golden brown and dried out a bit, remove from the oven and let cool. Stir to break apart.

Stir in: 1 lb. dried apricots, cut up (I use scissors)
Or any type of dried fruit you enjoy—cranberries, blueberries, cherries, dates, prunes, or raisins.

30 cups—60 servings (1/2 cup each)

Store in airtight container at room temperature for up to a month. May be refrigerated or frozen. Thaw before eating—dried fruits can get hard!

I usually give away some of the granola, because it yields a gigantic amount. It makes a great gift. I have several people who look forward to getting it. Of course, you can also half the recipe.

The cinnamon and vanilla make your whole house smell wonderful while it’s baking.

The granola is perfect with milk or yogurt for breakfast. It can be used as an ingredient in breads, muffins, or cookies. Try using it as one of the toppings on ‘Magic Cookie Bars’ or ‘Hello Dollies’.

Make a parfait with a cup of fruits, a container of yogurt, and about 3 T. granola. It’s pretty, healthful and takes a good long time to savor and enjoy.

Lemon Curd

food images
Lemon curd on a toasted English muffin
Lemon Curd
This recipe isn’t difficult, but it requires your undivided attention.

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
4 egg yolks
4 whole eggs
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice (5-6 lemons)
2 t. grated lemon peel*

In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients except lemon peel over medium-low heat. Stir with a wire whisk until thickened, about 10 minutes (170 degrees). Supervise carefully. Do NOT boil–the minute you see the first bubble, it’s done. Strain into a 4-cup measuring cup. Stir in lemon peel. Pour into jars, leaving headspace of at least 1”. Freeze for up to a year. Makes about 3 1/2 cups.

*Tip: grate the peel before juicing the lemons.

Lemon curd is delicious spread on toasted English muffins for breakfast. Try it on French Toast, too!

Cookies in a Jar

food images

These cookie mixes make great gifts, and they’re easy and fun for children to help with. Don’t forget to keep some for yourself! They are so convenient to take on a ski trip or other vacation. Since you’ll be storing these jars in a place they can be admired, be sure to use the mix within a couple of months.

Use a wide mouth funnel to layer ingredients in a quart jar as listed (with flour at the bottom). Gently pat down each layer with a smaller clean bottle (such as a small salad dressing or condiment bottle). Quart jars vary in size slightly.  Wide mouth jars tend to be a bit larger.  It’s important to completely fill the jar without air space, so the ingredients won’t shift around and mess up your pretty layers.  Don’t stress if all of the last ingredient won’t fit at the top of the jar. It will be OK. And, if you still have room at the top after adding all the ingredients, just add a few more chocolate chips or nuts. After filling the jar as full as possible, close with a clean lid and decorate with a round of fabric and a ribbon. Include a label listing the additional ingredients to be added.

Buffalo Chip Cookies in a Jar

1/2 c. Rice Krispies
1/4 c. chopped pecans
1/4 c. coconut
1/2 c. chocolate chips
3/4 c. oatmeal
1/2 c. dark brown sugar
1/3 c. white sugar
1/2 c. light brown sugar
3/4 t. baking powder
3/4 t. baking soda
1 1/2 c. flour

Add: 1 stick butter, 2 eggs, 1/2 t. vanilla. Drop by teaspoons onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes.

Oatmeal-Butterscotch Cookies in a Jar

3/4 c. oatmeal
1/2 c. dark brown sugar
1 1/4 c. butterscotch chips
1/4 c. light brown sugar
1 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
1 1/2 c. flour

Add: 1 stick butter, 1 egg, 1 T. vanilla. Drop by teaspoons onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.

Brownies in a Jar

1 c. white sugar
1/2 c. dark brown sugar
1/2 c. chocolate chips
1/2 c. light brown sugar
1/3 c. cocoa
1 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 1/2 c. flour

Add: 1 1/2 sticks butter, 4 eggs, 1 t. vanilla. Pour into greased 9 X 13 inch pan. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.