/ 4.12.10 / 5 Comments / Cooking , frugal living , gifts , healthy eating , Holidays , homemaking
Soup Mixes in a Jar
Hi Friends! I thought you would enjoy seeing photos of a great and inexpensive gift idea for Christmas over the weekend. My very crafty daughter-in-law, Elisabeth, got the idea to make these soup mixes in a jar from a book she picked up at a garage sale. She wanted to make something for our upcoming Christmas Craft sale at Grace Community Church to earn some extra spending money for Christmas.
I, on the other hand, was musing on what sort of gift I could make to give to friends and I’ve also been wanting to make some soups ‘ahead of time’ that I could just throw in the pot to simmer. I really have been wanting to improve my soup ‘repertoire’ and it always amazes me how things turn up just when I need them. This book, Gifts from a Jar, has the best recipes I’ve ever tried. It’s worth every penny!
You can imagine my excitement when Ebeth mentioned her idea. This is definitely a project for TWO people (plus I really enjoyed spending the day with her and the grandkids--Yippee!) For one thing, you can go in together to buy the most critical ingredient for this project, dried vegetable flakes. Ebeth found a good source online, and we split the cost. We ended up with quite a bit of extra, but this is a great additive to any soup you make, so I wasn’t complaining.
We spent a Saturday morning shopping with the kiddos. (Great excuse to hang out with the grandbabies—Yea!) Ebeth had ordered the online ingredients the week before which was critical. Just coming up with a shopping list for the 5 recipes we chose was quite an accomplishment all by itself. Even with pooling the spices and extra beans, rice, barley etc. that we both had on hand, we still had to buy some extra supplies and ingredients. We bought a few things at Sam’s like bulk dehydrated onions, chicken bullion cubes and cumin. Diced and dehydrated garlic and the vegetable flakes both had to be purchased online. We both had jars on hand that we had to wash and dry, but we also bought extras.
Between the two of us, we made 71 jars of soup mix! We figured up our costs and on average we spent about $1.50 to $2.00 per soup mix (including the price of the jar). I think Ebeth could sell her jars for at least $5-6.00 a piece. For my part, I’m just happy to have a well stocked pantry and now I also have a nice, inexpensive gift to give to friends at church and neighbors too. Plus I’ll tuck a few into the Christmas boxes I ship. What a great gift to have on hand for that surprise person that you left off of your list too!
I packed a bag with the Chicken and Rice soup mix plus a can of chicken breast chunks, and tomato sauce for my secret sister as a ‘thank you’ for all the gifts she gave me. Plus I sent a Chili Mac & Beans casserole jar plus a can of tomatoes with green peppers to my own secret sister in a quilted tote bag for her Christmas gift. It’s so nice to have a little something on hand for gift giving during this busy season, don’t you think?
We made the beef, lentil, and barley soup the other day and it was just heavenly! I loved the recipes so much, that I ordered the Gifts in a Jar~ Cookie Mixes too from Amazon. Of course, I bought it used. Why not? It looked brand new and even had fabric circles and raffia twine still in a bag inside the front cover. But Wal-mart also sells pre-cut circle scraps. They are in the canning section. I gathered a bunch of scraps in colors that I thought Ebeth would like and loaned her my pinking shears so she can make fabric circles for her jars.
Really, this is pretty easy, but if you are planning to do a bunch of jars or recipes, like we did, then we suggest that you shop on one day and do the work on the next day. It’s a BIG job! We ordered pizza for dinner. We sure didn’t feel like cooking! Ha!
There are so many resources on the internet for crockpot meals in a jar, soups, cookies, muffins, etc. Just do a quick search for “Gifts in a Jar” and you will find some great ideas for cooking ahead for your family as well as an inexpensive Christmas gift idea that’s a lot of fun to do and special to share as well.
What about you? What is your favorite gift to give for friends and neighbors?