December 12, 2007|Comments (4)
Christmas gifts that come from shopping malls and catalogues are fine… sometimes useful and certainly expensive… but simply cannot compare to the gifts from the heart. There are a few people who sadly watch their grandchildren or children tear through mountains of gifts that cost hundreds (sometimes thousands of dollars) and then complain because they didn’t like what they were given. Those individuals remember a time when children got just a few small gifts that were made by their parents: paper-dolls, wooden toy trains and trucks, and other items. Those gifts stand out as being the most precious and as they stoop to pick up the gifts their grandchildren lost interest in just moments after the paper was off… they can’t help but wonder what happened to Christmas.
This year, we are giving Christmas baskets with Friendship Bread, cookies in cookie tins, apple butter, pear butter, strawberry jam, baggies of Russian Tea, handmade ornaments, soup mixes, and handmade quilted pot holders. We also made wreathes and swags with pretty bows that were made from Dollar Store ribbon, pinecones from the yard, and juniper from the woods.
Sure, someone will probably get a basket and think, “Now why didn’t they give me a gift card, video game, or cash?” That’s okay. We know that we spent a great deal of time and put a whole lot of love in those gifts. Each one. And if the baskets are thrown to the wayside, perhaps that person who remembers the way Christmas used to be will pick it up and enjoy it.
Barley Soup Mix
- 1 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ cup dried lentils, rinsed and well dried
- 1 cup regular barley
- ½ cup instant chicken bouillon granules
- 1/3 cup minced onion
- ¾ cup chopped dried mushrooms
- ½ cup sun dried tomatoes (not oil packed)
- A handful of quick cooking rice
- Combine basil, oregano, rosemary, pepper, and garlic powder. Mix well and set aside.
- Use a clean quart jar with a plastic storage lid or traditional lid and ring.
- Layer lentils, barley, bouillon, dried onion, dried mushrooms, dried tomatoes, rice, and seasoning mixture in the jar until full. Secure lid.
- Create a tag to read: Store mix at room temperature (out of the light) for up to one year. To prepare, 8 ½ cups water, 2 cups diced carrots, and 2 chopped cooked chicken breasts in a kettle. Bring to a boil and then rduce the heat. Cover and simmer for 35-40 minutes. Makes six servings.