In a small bowl, combine the first five ingredients. In a pint-size jar with a tight-fitting lid, layer the barley, vegetable flakes, brown sugar mixture, bouillon granules, rice and onion, packing each layer tightly (do not mix). Cover and store in a cool dry place for up to 4 months. Yield: 1 batch.
To prepare soup: Pour mix into a large saucepan. Add water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1 hour or until rice is tender. Sprinkle with bacon bits if desired. Yield: 6 servings.