Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Easy and Delicious Meals in a Jar!

Have I ever told you how much I LOVE THRIVE? :) 

I just made these Meals in a Jar, and they are amazing! Now I have 40 quick and delicious meals that even my kids and husband can make in a few minutes. Just dump into a pot, add water and simmer! They were so excited when they came home from an activity and saw these! I thought I would share the recipes for these in case you are interested!

Almost all of these ingredients come from Thrive, except for a few spices, like taco seasoning, garlic powder and pepper. The happiest part for me, is I got most of my ingredients FREE from being a consultant and hosting my own classes! If you are interested in hosting a class to earn free and half off product, or becoming a consultant, please contact me and I can send you some info to consider and help you get started! (, 803-818-1569)

A few quick notes: You can substitute products from other companies, but be careful with the bouillon. I tried one recipe with another company's chicken bouillon, and it was waaaaaay too salty. You may need to make some adjustments if substituting.

You can make double batches of soup mix in half gallon jars, and half batches in pint jars (they hold 2 cups). I love how these can be customized so easily!

***Make sure you start with clean, COMPLETELY DRY jars and measuring cups! Personally, I wash my jars and then put them in the oven at 200 degrees until they are completely dry. Then I take them out of the oven and let them cool, and let the filling begin! 


Taco Soup
This is my family's favorite soup!

Put in quart jar in this order: 

3 TBSP Taco Seasoning
½ tsp Salt
¼ tsp Pepper
3 TBSP Tomato Powder
¼ cup Freeze Dried Onions
¾ cup Freeze Dried Hamburger
¾ cup Instant Pinto Beans
¾ cup Instant Black Beans
¾ cup Freeze Dried Corn
2 TBSP Freeze Dried Green Chilis (optional)

Dump all ingredients from this jar into a pot. Add 8 cups water (you might like more or less water). Bring to a boil, turn down to medium heat and let simmer for 10-15 minutes until beans are cooked. Add more salt or seasonings if you like. Serve with sour cream, shredded cheese and tortilla chips. (Makes about 10 cups of soup.)
This is my recipe that I created.

Francesca’s Unstuffed Pepper Soup
I think this is my personal favorite! You need to try it!

Put in quart jar in this order:

½ tsp Salt
¼ tsp Pepper
½ cup Tomato Powder
1 tsp Freeze Dried Garlic (can use ½ tsp garlic powder instead)
1 TBSP Italian Seasoning
1 ½ TBSP Beef Bouillon
¼ cup Freeze Dried Onions
1 cup Instant White Rice or Instant Brown Rice
1 cup Freeze Dried Ground Beef
½ cup Freeze Dried Red Peppers
½ cup Freeze Dried Green Peppers

Dump all ingredients from this jar into a pot. Add 8 cups water (you might like more or less water). Bring to a boil, turn down to medium heat and let simmer for 10-12 minutes. Add more salt or seasonings if you like. Serve topped with your favorite cheese.

This is also amazing as a casserole. Francesca's original recipe said to dump contents of jar into a bowl and add 3 cups of water. Let sit for 20 minutes to rehydrate. Pour into a casserole dish and top with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. 

Note: When I make it as a casserole, I just put the jar contents in a pot with 3-4 cups of water, 
bring it to a boil and let simmer until rice is done. It will be thick. Put into a casserole
dish, top with cheese and bake for about 15-20 minutes.

I have also used regular white rice (instead of instant rice) and it works great. You
will need a little more water and it will take a good 20-25 minutes of simmering.
Just play around with it and add a little extra water if needed. It will be wonderful!

Sausage Zuppa Toscana
This was a new recipe to me, and it blew me away! I love this soup!
It's spicy and hearty and a new favorite in my house!

Put in quart jar in this order:

½ cup Sour Cream Powder
1 TBSP Chicken Bouillon
½ tsp Crushed Red Pepper
½ tsp Freeze Dried Garlic (or use some garlic powder instead)
½ cup FD Chopped Spinach
¼ cup Freeze Dried Onions
1 cup Instant Pinto Beans
1 cup Freeze Dried Sausage Crumbles
1 ½ cups Potato Chunks (dehydrated)

To prepare in a crock pot, add soup to 8 cups of water and cook on low for 4 hours. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and bread sticks.

To cook in a pot, dump all ingredients of this jar into a pot. Add 8-9 cups of water. Bring to a boil, turn down to medium heat and let simmer for about 20 minutes or until potatoes and beans are tender.
I am not sure yet where this recipe came from...still searching. It was in my stack of recipes I printed off one day to try out. If you know, please tell me!

Lasagna Soup
You can use other noodles in this, but I like these bowtie noodles!

Put in quart jar in this order:

¼ cupTomato Powder
¼ cup Tomato Sauce Powder
1 TBSP Chicken Bouillon
¼ cup Bechamel Sauce
½ - 1 tsp Freeze Dried Garlic (or garlic powder)
1 tsp Chef's Choice Seasoning
½ tsp Freeze Dried Italian Seasoning Blend
½ tsp Freeze Dried Basil
2 TBSP Mixed Bell Peppers
¼ cup Freeze Dried Onions
¾ cups Freeze Dried Sausage
2 cups Rainbow Farfalle (Bowtie) Noodles

Bring 8 cups of water to boil. Add contents of jar and stir well. Simmer for about 10-12 minutes or until the noodles are done. Top with Parmesan or Mozzarella Cheese.

Original Recipe comes from Shelli Rasmussen

Chicken NOODLE Soup
This came in handy when we got sick with the flu! This tastes SOOO much better than canned soup from the store...and healthier too! 

Put in quart jar in this order:

2 TBSP Chicken Bouillon
¼ tsp Pepper
1 tsp Chef’s Choice Seasoning
½ tsp Salad Seasoning Blend
1/2 tsp Freeze Dried Garlic (or garlic powder)
¼ cup Freeze Dried Celery
¼ cup Carrots (dehydrated)
¼ cup Freeze Dried Onions
1 cup Freeze Dried Chicken (you can use large slices or chopped chicken)
 2 cups Egg Noodles

*Season your jar meal of Chicken Noodle Soup they way you like chicken soup! You might want to put in a little poultry seasoning, marjoram, some parsley or a bay leaf!

Add contents of this jar to 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 10 mins or until noodles are done. (remove bay leaf before eating if you added one of those in there!)
Not sure where this recipe came from either. Still looking!

Here is the website to see/purchase all of the products:
My Thrive Favorites

Click HERE to see a few more Meal in a Jar Recipes (like Chicken Fajitas and Beef Stroganoff!)

Shelf Life and sealing the Jars

What is the shelf life of the jar meal? (Short answer below in bold!)
This is not a simple answer. There are a lot of factors here, but let's break it down to some info we need to consider. Most companies say that their freeze dried foods last 25-30 years unopened, but once opened, you have about 1 year to use the product in the can. This will vary according to the exact product. You will need to know the approximate shelf life of the products you put into the jar. 

Here is an awesome document from Thrive that shows optimum shelf life while sealed, approximate shelf life once opened, allergens, if the product is non GMO, country of origin, etc.
Thrive Product Detail List

With this in mind, you would need to consider the shelf life of each product in the jar, AND YOU NEED TO SEAL THE JAR! If the sealed shelf life of sausage is 25 years, but you also have Pasta in the jar which only has a shelf life of 8 years, then your jar meal technically has a shelf life of 8 years. 

HOWEVER, you need to consider that a jar lets in light, and light can reduce the shelf life of your food. I personally think you should use your jar meals within a year or so for optimum freshness. I just made 40 jar meals, and there's no way they will last more than a year on my shelf because my family will eat them up sooner than that!

How can you seal the jar? 
You can vacuum seal it with a Pump n Seal or with a Vacuum Sealer machine (like a Food Saver or Seal a Meal.) You can also put an oxygen absorber in the jar. That seems like a waste of money to me, so I use my Pump N Seal or Food Saver.  

But if you consider that once you open a can of freeze dried food, that you have about a year to use it (with just the plastic lid on the can), then technically you don't need to seal it. You just need to use it within a year (or whatever the lowest opened shelf life is for all of the products in your jar.) 

Can I store them in Zip Lock Freezer bags?
Sure. You can make the meals and put them in zip lock freezer bags, but your food will not be as protected as in jars. I would say to use them within a few months if stored in baggies. But it's a great option for temporary when camping or hiking or backpacking. 

SHORT ANSWER: Everyone seems to have their own opinion...I have read a lot about this online and found opposite extremes in opinions and information. Here is my advice: be smart, make sure your jars are completely dry before you fill them, use quality fresh products, store in a dark cabinet or pantry, seal them if you can for added protection, and use within a reasonable amount of time. Just eat them! They are delicious!

I have seen people do really fancy labels and give them as Christmas presents, but I just made plain labels and taped them onto the jars. Worked great for my family, and it was simple and fast! 

Here is the website to see all of the products:

You can get cheaper prices than are listed on the website by ordering through a consultant (ME!), hosting or attending a Thrive party, or by joining the "Q" which is their monthly shipping program. You can get lots of free and half of products too when you host a class or "party" or become a consultant.

When you get on the "Q", you will have access to the monthly specials and the lowest prices offered by Thrive. You set your own budget, choose the products you want each month, and decide which day your order will process. It’s a great way to gradually build your food supply and stock up on your favorite items that are on sale. 

Please let me know if you have any questions. Thrive has fabulous products, and the Q is a great way to get healthy and delicious “groceries” delivered to your door. And it helps you stock up on your food storage gradually on a comfortable budget. 

I will be running a special on the consultant kits in January ($40 off). Please contact me if you are interested. 

Happy New Year! Melissa : )

Melissa Coombs
Independent Thrive Life Consultant
Silver Executive


Monday, December 1, 2014

Last Day for Thrive's Black Friday Sale! Emergency Supplies Make Great Christmas Gifts!

This is the last day for Thrive's Awesome Black Friday Sale!

Click HERE for the Black Friday Sales Flyer

Click HERE for the Black Friday Shopping Page

Click HERE for the Freeze Dried Meat Packs Special Deal

Sale prices are good until 11:59 pm tonight MST (that's 1:59 am Eastern Time!)

Have you checked out the Emergency Supplies and Shelving Units? 

Here are a few that are on sale!

Click HERE for the website to find specific details on the products. (Put the item number in the search bar. Sale prices will not show up until items are in the cart.) 

The Sawyer Mini Filter is AMAZING! Click HERE to read details and watch a video showing how it works!

Fabulous price on the 5 gallon water container! 

The Frontier is perfect for an Emergency Kit! Click HERE to to read details and see a video of how it works! 

The Seychelle Water Filtration Pump will filter 100 gallons of water. Can be used to pump water out of a small container, a 55 gallon drum, or even a pond. Click HERE for more details.

 Don't let this deal pass you by on this hand grinder!

Shipping is based off order subtotal.
    6% of order subtotal

Please contact me with any questions! I'll be happy to place the order for you.

Melissa Coombs
Thrive Life Independent Consultant