Utah Eccentric: 5 Quirky Road-trips 

(image credit: flickr)

There’s something about this time of year – we start feeling a bit cheated, everyone’s doing, like… fun stuff! We deserve more! While the weather is still pleasant here in Utah – and this means we have not yet turned into the life-sucking dustbowl of death that is summer – you still have a shot. How to take advantage of this opportunity when you’re (likely) broke and short on planning time?  Pleasingly, there’s a big fat bunch of options for a short road trip along the Wasatch Front.  If you’re looking for something a little quirky, maybe off the beaten path, you’re in the right place, honey.

Utah Eccentric: 5 Quirky Roadtrips

antelop island

1. Travel To A Desert Island: 

Antelope Island is the largest in the little chain dotting the Great Salt Lake.  Step foot onto the island and you’re sent back to frontier life with roaming buffalo, wagon rides, clouds of hummingbirds, and primitive camping.  Floating in the pungent, briny brew of the Great Salt Lake is best from there–just be sure to get all those brine shrimp washed off in the campground showers.


Beaver Creek Nudist Ranch[4]

(Photo Credit: EnjoyUtah.org)

2. Beaver Creek Nudist Ranch: 

Beaver Creek is mostly entertaining for what it isn’t–a nudist colony.  A group of Samak mischief-makers put up the sign years back to trick the unsuspecting into thinking they’re going to see some naked bits racing alongside the road up the Mirror Lake Highway past Kamas.  After laughing at your overly hopeful friends, stop by the Samak Smoke House for some incredible smoked trout and salmon and camp in one of the well-kept and surprisingly un-crowded campgrounds. 


Old Mine Shaft Entrance

3. Lark, Utah–Extra Creepy Ghost Town:

Lark, Utah used to be a bustling lead and copper mining town.  After a tragic explosion in the lead mine in 1950, five miners were lost and their spirits were reported wandering helplessly by the mine’s entrance. Lark started fading and was eventually shut down by the Kennecott Copper Mine’s executives in the early 1970s.  About 4 miles west of Herriman in the Oquirrh Mountains, it’s a fascinating and creepy destination. But I’d be out of there by nightfall…



4. The Antelope Springs “Footprint” Mystery:

Millard County is a bonanza for even the newbie rockhound, thousands of trilobites to ferret out and marvel at the Awesome of your very own fossil collection.  Then grab a beer in Delta and start the endless argument over the authenticity of the Antelope Springs Footprint: a fossil found by William Meister in the ’60s that looks like the imprint of a shoe.  Gasp!  Aliens?  King Arthur?  Who knows?  Easy camping and inexpensive hotels for overnighters.



5. Buddying Up To The Bear Lake Monster:

Having worked a summer at Bear Lake 60 miles north of Logan, I am adamant that the Bear Lake Monster exists.  He’s described as half carp/half eel in appearance, and I swear I heard his roar echo over the waters at least twice that summer.  While you’re searching for the elusive serpent, be sure to stop by Raspberry Days and grab a gigantic raspberry shake from the Hometown Drive-in in Garden City.  There’s campsites on the beach and inexpensive rentals all around the lake and in nearby Logan Canyon.


Find more fascinating and entertaining Utah adventures at EnjoyUtah.org.

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with ALL the Tasty Recipes!

Corned Beef & Cabbage With Mary Helen’s Magnificent Mustard Sauce – A meal so amazing you’d leg-wrestle your grandma for the last bite.

As hardcore Scots, we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a certain level of ferocity. Our friend Ian from the Salt Lake Scots Pipe Band marches down the street and gives a concert for the neighborhood. My brother-in-law Bill reads from the Irish poets with his beautiful, sonorous voice. Our neighbors Mickey and Sharee Gallivan bring over an aged whiskey that would melt your internal organs clear out of your body. And then–the Corned Beef and Cabbage with Mary Helen’s Magnificent Mustard Sauce. This is from my mother–the coolest woman in North America–and it’s amazing. Sharp, tangy, delicious. Seriously, you could use it as a beverage. Try it out, you’ll be hooked. A little gift from my family to yours.


By the way, if you do better with visual instruction, check out “Cooking With Todd & The Toddler–A Complete Corned Beef & Cabbage Dinner Tutorial” on our YouTube channel.


Mary Helen’s Magnificent Mustard Sauce

2 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp plain yellow mustard (NOT the fancy stuff)

1/2 tsp salt

2 eggs

6 tbsp white vinegar

4 tbsp water

Low heat, stir till thickened. Next time you see me I expect a hug, but don’t make it weird.

What about the corned beef?
I’ve heard questions from some of you about the corned beef–apparently a little intimidated. Trust me, if a cooking feeb like ME can do it, so can you. There’s a little packet of spices attached and clear instructions. You either boil or bake, it’s up to you. The corned beef comes usually in two ways–flats or points. Flats are a little more expensive, points a little more fatty, so it’s up to you. Throw in carrots, cabbage, potatoes, parsnips, and you’ve got a feast.


(image credit: the Vega Team)

You’ll have leftovers, so tomorrow I’m giving you my mother’s secret recipe for Colcannon. Oh, you gonna love me!


This is The Todd in his MacLean of Duart kilt, and my brother-in-law Bill in his… well… I think Bill just really likes wearing a skirt.

Peppermint Crunch Cookies

(Image credit: TheBittenWord)

Peppermint Crunch Cookies

It’s this time of year when my Zoe and I develop an unnatural craving for all things peppermint. (White peppermint kisses have moved from a craving to an addiction that I might require rehab to remove. Sadly, there are no rehab centers for peppermint kiss addicts.) However! The humble Peppermint Crunch Cookie encompasses all things tasty- soft, luxurious cookie and crunchy peppermint. The cream cheese adds a luscious dimension that makes you give that embarrassing little moan when you bite into it. You know, the moan you make unknowingly when something is freaking delicious and then everyone is staring at you? That moan.

Peppermint Crunch Cookies

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 9 minutes

Yield: 36 cookies


1 white cake mix
1 stick butter, melted (8 Tbsp.)
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup crushed candy cane pieces
  1. Combine the cake mix, melted butter, egg, and extracts. Beat until a soft dough forms. Add the cream cheese and beat in gently until combined. Stir in the peppermint crunch pieces. Refrigerate dough for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Roll the dough into 36 balls. Bake on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 9 minutes. Do not over bake. The cookies will be very soft and look undone. Let them sit on the hot cookie sheet for 2 minutes, then gently remove them with a spatula to a piece of wax paper on the counter.
  3. Very gently tap the tops of the cookies with the bottom of the spatula to even out the tops. Let them sit until completely cool. Store in a sealed container. Makes 36 cookies.
(Cover image credit: TheBittenWord)


“I Need HOW Many Lights?” A Guide To Decorating Your Christmas Tree

(Image credit: Pexels)
“I Need HOW Many Lights?” A Guide To Decorating Your Christmas Tree. I know I’m not the only frustrated Martha Stewart wanna-be who’s done the Decorating Walk Of Shame to the store at midnight, buying 16 more packages of lights for the tree because I ran out halfway through.  And you can’t stop–the thing is just sitting there, looking forlorn and unfinished. So I tracked down my girlie Carla, an interior decorator who specializes in decorating for the holidays (is that a cool job or WHAT?) and got the dimensions. Here’s her no-fail guide.

(Image credit: frankieleon)

(Editor’s note: by the way, if you’d rather have your lovely, live Christmas tree shipped to you, there’s all kinds of lovely options here, and you can find an inexpensive tree stand and good quality lights here. It’s a great holiday when you never have to leave the couch!) If you’re looking for some holiday light shows to inspire you -or overwhelm you- have a look at our guide to Every Single Christmas Light Show Along The Wasatch Front here.

Print off this handy guide and take it along with you when tree shopping.

No Decorating Walk Of Shame. I’m here for you, honey…


5 Utah Ghost Towns You Simply Must Explore

Five Utah ghost towns you simply must explore.
There’s no better time than autumn to fill the gas tank and head out on an impromptu road trip, armed with nothing but a case of diet Pepsi and a box of Cap’n Crunch. But where to go? With all this hot weather, it’s time to send a chill right up your backside. If you’ve got the slightest bit of spooky sense, you should hit one of these five iconic ghost towns. Just be out of there by nightfall…

Brand, spanking new shiny version: we’ve updated this post with some creepy new reports from listeners brave enough to venture into these towns. Plus! A bonus scary spot for you to discover! Or, run screaming…whichever.



skinwalker ranch

Skinwalker Ranch takes its name from the Native American legends of demonic deities able to transform into the bodies of animals. There’s an uncomfortable tangle of occult lore and science fiction–mainly UFO sightings and exposure. Terrifying fireballs of lightning are said to slam down onto the ground and chase hapless wanderers. Other accounts of survivors of alien-based experiments were published in the Deseret News and the Las Vegas Mercury. The ranch borders the Ute Indian Reservation in west Uintah County. There’s even a low-budget horror movie called-obviously-“Skinwalker Ranch” to get you into the mood to explore or get you out of the mood if you’re sensible.


5 Utah Ghost Towns You Simply Must Explore



(Photo credit: Kent Kanouse)

You’ve seen this creepy burg in multiple movies; Thelma and Louise, Vanishing Point, Don’t Come Knocking and the Johnny Cash song “Cisco Clifton’s Filling Station.” The snake-infested little town is chock full of crumbling buildings and “out of nowhere” gunshot sounds. Modern-day ghost hunters often report fainting, dizziness, and violent shuddering, usually coupled with strong winds that blow out of nowhere.



grafton utah

(Photo credit: Carl Berger)

Grafton is another “movie star” town, featured in Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid. Grafton was abandoned in the mid-1800s during the Black Hawk War when residents were terrified of Native American raids. If you listen closely, you can hear the sounds of war drums, and two dogs wander the tiny graveyard, suddenly changing into gigantic crows. Grafton has some of the highest reports of “Skinwalker” apparitions of any spot in the West.



thistle utah

(Photo credit: LemonJenny)

Thistle was a pleasant, bustling little town until the landslide in 1983 that damned the Spanish Fork River and flooded the town. Terrified residents fled with whatever they could carry. The town was buried under 100 feet of water and became Thistle Lake. The lake’s been drained since, but the creepy, subterranean remains of the town are bone-chilling. Searchers report seeing mysterious muddy footprints suddenly appearing on walls, and finding muddy water soaking their belongings stacked on dry ground.



osiris utah

(Photo credit: Shawn Bagley)

The Holt Family descended on this little town in 1910 and constructed a huge creamery next to a river in Black Canyon. No one still knows why, but they insisted on naming the town Osiris after the Egyptian God of the Afterlife. The town’s population started dwindling when blackened forms were spotted rambling through the canyon, loping alongside wagons with glowing eyes. Other townsfolk reported wailing and mysterious altars set up in the creamery. Visit during the day, locals say these days the road in and out of town can suddenly become blocked by boulders and fallen trees after dark.




(Photo credit: Orientalizing)

The Silver Fever that infested miners in Utah’s San Francisco Mountains in 1875 blew Little Frisco into a wildly busy town, filled with brothels, bars and gambling halls. At its peak, sheriffs reported at least 10 deaths a day from drunken gun battles. Ten years later, a deadly cave-in at the town’s biggest mine nearly emptied the town. Miners struggling to remain were eventually scared off by The Widow in White, a wailing specter looking for her lost love in the mine. Modern-day visitors foolish enough to enter at night report hearing screams and sobbing coming from the old bordello and the smell of gunpowder in the air.

Most importantly: you visit, you SEND US PICTURES!!!!  Good luck.

(Cover photo credit: via Flickr)

The Five Creepiest Utah Cemeteries

The Five Creepiest Utah Cemeteries. I grew up in the Avenues here in Salt Lake City, just a couple of blocks from the venerable city cemetery. So we played hide and seek around the tombstones, ran circles around Emo’s Grave and dared the night watchman to chase us down after hours. I didn’t get the full respect and fear for the resting places of the dead until I went on a ghost hunt at the Mercur Cemetery in my teens.


ghost hunting

(photo credit: Andy Wilkes)

Speaking of ghost hunting…

Ghost Hunt Etiquette:

  • Many areas are private property, without getting permission, you run the risk of trespassing.
  • Do some research on the spooky spot first, so you’ll have a better idea of where the phenomenon comes from.
  • Double-check all your recording sources afterward, many things are picked up on tape that can’t be heard live.
  • Be respectful: don’t trample on gravestones, stir up sod, disturb flower arrangements, etc.

Now that we’re entering the crisp days of fall and our thoughts turn to all things creepy, it’s the perfect time to explore some truly terrifying spots here in our Pretty, Great State.


BTW: Still looking for some super creepy spots? Check out our “Utah’s 5 most haunted spots” here, and “5 Utah ghost towns you simply must explore” here.

We’re here for you, honey. Right up to the point of taking care of your therapy bills afterward. That’s your problem.


The Five Creepiest Utah Cemeteries


(photo credit: Niki Chan)

1. Mercur Cemetery:

The mining town of Mercur started in the 1870s, but it was a disastrous fire in 1902 that destroyed the entire town. The graveyard stubbornly persists, though no one’s been buried there since 1913. Picket fences surround 20 of the graves–but walk carefully, you’ll stumble over random tombstones if you’re not watching the uneven ground. Ghost hunters report seeing phantasmagoric flames rising from the graveyard and when taking pictures, terrifying faces would suddenly appear in front of the lens. Close enough to touch. EEEEEEEEEEE!



(photo credit: Norm Thomas)

2. Pleasant Green Cemetery:

I find nothing “pleasant” about watching tombstones glow when a train passes by, but those of us screeching like a barn owl that night certainly witnessed the phenomenon. Pleasant Green’s graveyard was established in 1883, perched on a hill over Magna. The grave of “Sarah J” is often photographed with disturbed earth–like something is trying to dig out–not in.



3. Salt Lake City Cemetery:

I have decades-worth of stories about the scariness of this place – where to begin? Emo’s Grave is likely the most famous – run around the grave 3 times chanting “Emo, Emo, Emo!” and the scary old phantasm is supposed to leave his urn and chase you. There’s all kinds of creepy, crumbling tombs that look uncomfortably open and accessible. But the spot that scares ghost hunters the most has to be Lilly Gray’s tombstone: where her grieving husband had carved “Victim of the Beast 666.” Legend states poor Lilly was the victim of demonic possession. All I can tell you is that the sod around her grave can suddenly turn spongy and soft where you’re standing, winds blow up from nowhere and wordless howling will send you screaming out of the cemetery.



(photo credit: Scott Law)

4. Ephraim Pioneer Cemetery:

This graveyard wasn’t really intended to exist – a settler in Fort Ephraim passed away and was set to be buried in the nearby Allred Settlement. But after a warning of an Indian attack, pioneers hastily buried the man just outside the walls. He was joined by dozens more, including several children who died in an Indian massacre. Sad little voices will ask you to “take me home!” and the wails of mourning parents echo through the tombstones.


the weeping woman

(photo credit: Holly Murdock)

5. Logan Cemetery:

Wait for the night of a full moon and watch tears pour down the face of The Weeping Woman. There’s scores of soldiers buried here, and there’s sounds of battle, shouts and screams that rise from nowhere to a deafening roar, then suddenly stop.

(cover image credit: Pixabay)

So, do you have a favorite “final resting place” to explore? Have you seen anything? Please, share! We’ll post your photos and stories too.

I Did Not Know That! Genius Parenting Tips & Tricks

So, in the Good Old Days, everyone had a cool Nana that lived with them and basically told everyone what to do.

So Parenting Tips & Tricks weren’t really needed.  Nana knew all this stuff.

Then, we all decided to start moving around and multi-generational families weren’t so common.  And all of a sudden, it’s 2am and the kid is screaming his lungs out and there’s no one to tell you what to do!


Thus, behold the Awesome.

Genius Parenting Tips & Tricks:


1. Use a little glue glitter to make “Tooth Fairy Money.” (Editor’s note: a FIVER?  Hah!  My kids are lucky they graduated to a buck a molar.)




2. Wiggly kids that have a hard time sitting still long enough to study? Invest in a stability ball.  Long-term studies are showing increased concentration for longer periods of time–and an improved core! Find some good selections here.


3. Make your expensive iPad safe with “Kid Mode.” This feature locks the application and disables any hardware controls that could lead your toddler on a wayward path. Learn how to turn it on here.


4.  Use a shoe caddy as “kid central” for long drives.  Rather than paying $150.00 for a fancy car organizer (I’m not kidding.  $150 bucks!) I bought a hanging shoe caddy for $10.99.  Neatly stores everything and keeps it within reach of grubby little paws.


5. Temporary tattoos that help locate your little person. These are by a company called SafetyTat.  So brilliant that I can’t even stand it.


(Cover image credit: Sarah via Flickr)

$ – Some of these links are affiliate links, and we may earn a small fee if you purchase the product

5 Tricks To Make Your Produce Taste Better & Last Longer

5 Tricks To Make Your Produce Taste Better & Last Longer. Well, no wonder produce is so blasted expensive!  Simply between getting it out of the store or from the Farmer’s Market and into my fridge has been enough to make some of these nervous nellies expire right in the grocery bag.  Spend the extra $ for organic, and you can see the mold creep on to that peach as you enter the checkout line.

However, a chat with your produce fella at the store can yield some valuable advice about how to make these most delicate of flowers continue to bloom at home in your crisper.  They just need a little help.


5 Tricks To Make Your Produce Taste Better & Last Longer

1. Your Lemons & Limes Can Be A Home Decor Item Or Food. Not both? Here’s why. Yes, your citrus does stay juicy and nice sitting on the counter and looking pretty in a bowl–for about a week at the most. However, everything from oranges to grapefruit will stay juicy and tasty longer in the fridge–usually two weeks–longer than sitting out. However, if you take out your lemons a few minutes before using them to let them warm up to room temperature, they’ll be delightfully juicy.



2. Grapes Are Sneaky. We have to do a little reading to see how fresh they actually are.  First, checking to see if the grapes are wrinkled where they meet the stem is task #1. But read the label: grapes from Chile could be months old by the time they reach the grocer– no matter how well the growers try to store them. Grapes from Mexico tend to be from field to store within a week. Store the grapes in their little perforated plastic bag in your fridge the keep them fresh for 2 weeks.


3.  Asparagus Need Water. Notice how they’re usually sitting up with their stems in a bit of water at the store?  Asparagus is actually part of the Lily family: they need water to stay crisp.  Store them upright in the fridge with the stems in a half inch of water.  Sneaky inside tip: those little green guys went limp? Roll them up in a wet paper towel for an hour and they’ll get nice and crisp again.


4. Eat Your Strawberries Warm, Not Chilled. Strawberries are at their most heavenly when pulled off the stem and popped into your mouth, right?  Sun-warmed, sweet.  Eating strawberries directly from the fridge hugely dulls their flavor. Sneaky inside tip: if you quicky simmer (like, 1 minute!) the berries in very hot water, then let them air dry on a paper towel before putting them in the fridge, you’ll extend their life by stopping mold growth.


Correct Tomato Placement. Fussy, eh?  Here’s the deal: if you’re putting them on a sunny windowsill to ripen, store them stem-side up.  This way, the fragile top of the tomato doesn’t “get gooshy,” as my Zoe says.  However, if the stem is already pulled off, store them stem-side down so that air doesn’t enter and moisture doesn’t escape from the opening where the stem used to be.


(All images courtesy of Pixabay)

Hot Weather Helpers – The Best Body Care Products For 100 Degrees

Hot Weather Helpers – The Best Body Care Products For 100 Degrees

“Lady Anti-Monkey Butt?” My best girlie Caryn stared at me like I’d just slapped a dirty diaper in her outstretched palm.

“Trust me,” I promised, “you’ll thank me for this.” I know there are blissful little spots where summer temperatures never move above 70 degrees and cool winds blow gently through the trees.

We don’t live in one of those places. Summer in Utah is a blast-furnace of merciless heat and even the tired old, “Yeah, but it’s a dry heat!” means absolutely squat. I’ve been putting together hot weather survival care packages for visitors for years to our life-sucking Dust Bowl Of Death. I feel like a terrible hostess when the only place they can be comfortable is lying directly over our air conditioner vent.

Here are my top ten must-haves…


Hot Weather Helpers – The Best Body Care Products For 100 Degrees




Lady Anti Monkey Butt – My girlie Jen gave this to me on our last sojourn into the Salt Flats (a super intense spot in the desert here in Utah where the evaporated salt shimmers and glows) to avoid the inevitable… rash. It smells lovely and does the trick without getting all weird and gooey. $5.69


The Coldest Water – Right around now my running habits migrate into the evening hours when it cools down. Then, night. Which unfortunately is right around the time the rattlesnakes around our home in the foothills like to stretch out on the street. Umm.. back to the day-time hours, then! The Coldest Water band saved my life- throw it in the freezer, then wrap it around your neck or the small of your back. The velcro straps keep that sucker tight and against your sweaty skin. $20


WOW Dream Coat Supernatural Spray – This delightful little bottle tames my hair from the freakish spiral of fuzz that 100+ degree days seem to inspire, to a well-groomed ponytail. It’s refreshing to not look like there’s a pyracantha bush living on my scalp. It smells lovely, and when faced with a blowtorch of a day, will not melt down your neck. $28.00

IHHAPY Handheld Mini Fan- This adorable little fella charges off a USB port, and gives you between five and six hours of blissful chill. We tried this out during an outdoor concert on the Fourth of July- I looked behind us at the end of the fireworks and there were 11 people clustered behind us, trying to get in on the breezy action. $19.99 – There’s a 20% off coupon here.



Snake Brand Prickly Heat Powder– I did not know “prickly heat” was actually a thing until my first summer in Southeast Virginia. I looked like I’d come down with some appallingly invasive rash and I itched compulsively. Even my boyfriend wouldn’t sit next to me. The moment the powder slid over my skin was sweet, sweet relief. If I had to pick water or prickly heat powder for my survival kit… well, I’d be stealing your water. But I’d be rash-free while I did it. $98 for a package of 10.


UCOOL Body Cooling Band So the Todd – who loves gadgets – presented this to me with great ceremony, insisting on reading the entire booklet. “As your body heats up,” he instructed me, “a special heat wicking fabric inside 31 superconductive fins draws heat away from the body, replacing it with refreshing coolness.” Superconductive fins? Sign me up! As it happens, this thing works great and I slap it on our son Zachary when we go hiking because the kid insists on running up the steepest grade we can find, no matter what the temperature is. It’s nice having a child who doesn’t resemble an overcooked lobster. $24.99


“Arf” Cooling Mat – While we’re on the subject of children and pets, forgetting your furry little buddy at home is a terrible idea. The “Arf” Cooling Mat is an easy-peasy way to keep your pets comfortable, especially if you’ve got a long day and they’re languishing on the porch. The pad actually self-charges, so it’s zero-maintenance. And you’re the best pet owner on the planet. $69.99


Toes Home Outdoor Magic Buffs – I got my first buff as a gift at Burning Man, where it became my best friend during 50 mph dust storms, keeping my waist-length hair and associated irritating flyaway bits out of my mouth. I barely took it off long enough to wash it. These lovely little things are stretchy, dry instantly and make you look polished… put-together… like a Woman Of Adventure. $9.90 for a six-pack.


 The Wind & Weather Soothing Herbal Aromatherapy Neck and Back Wrap – This sucker rules for so many reasons- it cools down even the most overheated body, comforts you with a gentle weight on your shoulders and even offers several different scents to chill you out mentally, too. Throw it in the freezer and you’re set. I was surprised at how well this worked for pain relief- The Todd gets debilitating headaches during hot weather and he gave this two blissed-out thumbs-up. $37.99


EnduroPacks All-Natural Liquid Electrolytes – This handy spray bottle squirts a tasty mixture of electrolytes into your water, it’s sugar, gluten, and calorie-free with no artificial ingredients. It takes getting sunstroke just once (cough- me!) or several times (points at the Todd) to know that the fastest recovery is the best one. Or, if you’re not dimwitted like we are, maybe keeping hydrated with something tasty like this and never ending up with sunstroke. We exist to be your walking, talking cautionary tale. $17.50





The 5 Best Gifts In A Jar



The 5 Best Gifts In A Jar

So, it turns out all those mason jars I bought for handy crafting (go ahead and laugh, I’m waiting for it) will come in handy after all!!

There’s so many “first responders” that I want to thank- not only medical workers (we’ve had a stream of them staying in our guest suite because we’re so close to three of our local hospitals) but firefighters, paramedics who stopped by my elderly neighbor’s home twice “just to check in.” And more – like the grocery clerks at our local store who’ve been working 14 hours a day to stock the shelves and check out a countless stream of customers. Finding gifts for these lovely people was a little problematic, until I remembered that there was a safe way to show our appreciation and maybe offer them some comfort.

Editor’s note: anything food-related here was made according to the Utah Department of Health food service worker’s sanitary guidelines, you can find those here. Clearly, practicing safe food preparation is crucial.


The Five Best Gifts In A Jar

(image credit: Vairane)


1.  Salted Caramel Sauce with Fresh Apples in a Jar: Especially perfect as we’re heading into fall and teacher gifts become important. (Editor’s note: especially in this house. I do a lot of sucking up to a good teacher. A lot.) There’s a good salted caramel sauce recipe by clicking here. 


(image credit: Personal Creations)

2.  Pies in a Jar: There’s a heart-stoppingly good recipe for Pumpkin Pie in a Jar by clicking here, but any recipe looks adorable.


(image credit: Nicole Vaughan)

3.  Sewing Kit in a Jar: Especially helpful as a dorm or new apartment gift, since every Millennial I know is genuinely perplexed by the concept of sewing up hems or replacing missing buttons. Crap. I just sounded like my grandmother there, didn’t I?



4.  Memories in a Jar: I make these with the kids every summer – we collect sand, shells and such from the beaches we visit and include some sepia-toned photos. During the winter, they love to unscrew the lid and “take a sniff of summer.”


(image credit: soulinasuit)

5. Salad in a Jar: You really can’t go wrong here and there’s a wild array of tasty combinations. Fine 30 different salads in a jar here.


Cover image credit: Nina Nelson