I am so utterly sick of baking at this point. Some of you wonder why I named my blog "bipolar baking"--it's moments like this, when I'd really rather do anything other than bake. It's a love/hate thing. And, seriously, I baked 26 different kinds of goodies in less than 3 weeks.
...I'm sure two days from now, I'll be back to it.
So today, instead of whipping up confections or cookies, I've got a crock pot full of country bean soup while I police Thing 1 and Thing 2 as they take turns poking at the gifts under the tree.
The soup I'm making, I got as a gift from my mum. Being 12 hours apart makes it hard for her to just swing by to help me out--which I know she wishes she could do. Instead, she sent me dinner in a bag. As I started preparing it, I realized that this would make a really nice hostess gift for those of you who are traveling for the holidays or a nifty (yeah, I said it-whatcha gonna do about it?) stocking stuffer for a mom or mom-type. Once you have the ingredients, you can mix up a bunch of these at once to give or keep for later.
You can put this mix into a plastic bag or a cute Ball jar. Be creative.
Mix together the following dry ingredients:
1/2 cup dried navy beans
1/2 cup pinto beans
1/2 cup baby lima beans
1/2 dried kidney beans
1/2 cup Great Northern or white beans
** you may also want to try adding or substituting dry split peas, lentils, black beans and or pearled barely
For a pretty presentation in a large jar, mix the beans together and place in the bottom of the jar. Then mix the following ingredients and place into a plastic bag to place on top of the beans.
2 bay leaves
2 Tbs dried mince onions
1 Tbs dried parsley
2 bullion cubes
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
This part is optional. The mix I got from my Mum didn't have any seasonings so I just added what I wanted to it. Take into consideration who you are making the mix for and go from there--an experienced cook doesn't need as much help as a newly wed couple might. A new mom might appreciate the extra help; your mother in law might like a different blend of seasonings.
Regardless, the process for making the soup from this mix is the same. You can print the instructions on a 3x5 card or put it on a label on the container.
Cover the bean mixture with cold water and soak overnight. (*For quick cooking, cover the beans with water and bring to a boil for 2 minutes before letting soak for one hour). Drain and rinse before adding to a pot.
Add 5 cups of water or broth
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
Sliced kielbasa or a ham hock (once the soup has cooked a few hours, you can pick off the meat from the ham hock and remove the bone)
Dash of lemon juice or red wine vinegar
Cook for 1-2 hours on a stove top or 3-5 hours in a crock pot. Serve with some nice, crusty bread.
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