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Mix it up

December 11, 2013
By Pat Jensen , Marshall Independent

I thought I might share some recipes that don't require any cooking (on your part). The lucky recipient of your "gift from the kitchen" gets to do the cooking.

The mixes are easy to assemble and make wonderful gifts for most any occasion. If you're looking for a special gift for a grandparent, mother, dad, friend, a new mom, or a budding young chef, give some thought to putting together a mix. So convenient, easy to prepare and the end result will be delicious.

Decorate the jar, container or plastic bag as desired. Consider using fabric, stickers, colorful ribbon or raffia. You may also want to place your decorated container in a gift bag or a small brown paper sack - colorful tissue paper makes a nice addition.

Like to recycle? A jar of soup mix can be placed in an empty box from saltine crackers. Secure bottom of box with clear tape to make more sturdy. Add a bow and/or soup spoon to top of box. No gift wrap needed.


3/4 cup each dried pinto and red kidney beans

Flavor packet:

2 T. dried onion flakes

2 T. dried parsley flakes

1 T. chili powder

2 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. dried oregano

6 chicken bouillon cubes

Combine and place in a small plastic bag.

Place 1/2 cup uncooked long grain white rice in a small bag.

Place 1 cup uncooked small pasta shells in a small bag.

Be sure to seal all bags.

Put beans in qt. jar. Place the flavor packet, rice and pasta in jar with beans.

(Store at room temp.)

Attach cooking directions to jar (as follows)

Cooking directions ...

Place beans into 4 to 5 qt. pot with 4 cups water. Bring to boil, cover and remove from heat. Let stand 1 hour. Drain beans and return to pot. Add 8 cups water and contents of flavor packet. Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 1 hour or until beans are firm-tender. Stir in rice and bring to a simmer. Cover. Simmer 15 min. Uncover. Stir in pasta and 1/2 cup water. Simmer 10 min. or until pasta is tender.

Yield: 8 cups.

Many thanks to Bev (from Ivanhoe) for sharing this little gem

3-2-1 CAKE

1 pkg. (16-oz) Angel Food cake mix (white)

1 pkg. (18.25-oz) cake mix (your choice)

Place contents of both cake mixes into a gallon size bag. Seal. Shake to mix.

Transfer this mixture to any container(s) you choose. There will be about 6 cups of mix.

To use: In a 6 ounce custard dish (ungreased), put 3 level Tbsp. of mix and 2 Tbsp. water.

Stir well. Microwave 1 minute.

Enjoy as is or serve with a topping based on flavor of cake.

For gift-giving, put some mix in a jar or plastic container with lid. Be sure to include the directions for using the mix. May decorate the jar or container and may wish to pair your gift with a pkg. of tea or flavored coffee mix; or a couple of custard cups.

Note: I used strawberry cake mix. No topping needed - great when eaten slightly warm. Lemon flavor is also very tasty.


1-1/3 cups quick cooking oats

1-1/3 cups flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

Pour oats into a wide-mouth 1-qt. glass container with a tight-fitting lid. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; place on top of oats. Layer with pecans, chocolate chips, brown sugar and granulated sugar, packing each layer tightly. Do not mix. Cover. May store in a cool dry place for up to six months.

To prepare cookies:

Pour cookie mix into a large mixing bowl; stir to combine ingredients. Beat in 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted, 1 egg [lightly beaten), and 1 tsp. vanilla extract. Cover and refrigerate for 1/2 hour. Roll into 1-in. balls. Place about 2-in. apart on greased baking sheets or use parchment paper. Bake at 350 for 11 to 13 min. or until set. Remove to wire racks to cool. Yield: about 3-1/2 dozen.

For gift-giving, attach index card which lists additional ingredients required and directions to prepare the cookies. Decorate jar as desired.



1 cup fat-free dry milk

3/4 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa

Store in sealed container.

To use:

Whisk 2 to 3 Tbsp. mix with 1 cup cold milk.

Microwave on high 1 min. Stir.


Mocha - Fill your mug with coffee instead of milk

Vanilla almond - Add a dash each of vanilla extract and Amaretto to milk.

For gift-giving, put desired amount of mix in a jar with lid. Attach directions for use. Include variations if desired. This recipe yields about 2 cups of mix.

Note: A package of cookies makes a nice addition.

Just for you ...


Apply water-soluble paint to your children's hands and have them press their hand prints onto a length of unbleached muslin. Allow paint to dry and then use a permanent marker to add their names and the year. Have a baby in the family? Include the tiny hands or foot prints. Be prepared to wash baby's hands or feet immediately afterwards.

Note: you could even include mom and dad's hand prints and those of the grandparents.


Use small clothes pins or clips to attach the Christmas cards you receive to a length of twine, yarn, or ribbon. Hang it around a doorway or window.

Notice: Normally my next column would appear two weeks from today, but there will be no paper on Wednesday, the 25th. In keeping with the previous schedule, you will find my next column in the Jan. 8 edition of the Independent.

May your Christmas be bright with cheer, warm with friendship, and filled with happiness.



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