I'm a big believer in snacks. I'd snack all day long if I could (and sometimes I do). Snacks have always been a big deal in our family. I distinctly remember going to friend's houses as a little girl and wondering where the afternoon snacks were. In fact, many of my friend's parents got to the point where they would go out of the way to make sure they had something to snack on because they new me and my sister were coming over....because that's not embarrassing at all.
I still snack pretty heavily (old habits die hard) and it's pretty much always a guarantee that I'll have some kind of food on hand with me at all times. One of my favorites is trail mix. I like that it's portable/great for traveling and customizable and you don't have to worry about breaking it (like, say, a granola bar). It's also relatively inexpensive to put a big batch together. Unless you happen to be in a grocery store in Banff. Then that'll cost you. Yeah, we thought we were being all clever and saving money by making our own mix from their bulk section instead of buying the "expensive" pre-made bag. HA! Let's just say chocolate covered almonds are apparently the equivalent of gold up there. We paid more for less than a cup of them than I've paid for meals here in NYC. So, the lesson is, don't buy chocolate covered almonds in Canada, and ya know, maybe bring some up from the states to trade in for your retirement.
Moving right along to a trail mix that won't cost you your entire life savings, this mountain mix, as we're calling it, is inspired by some of our favorite snacks we like to enjoy while hiking or things that are reminiscent of camping and campfires. Think beef jerky, smokey almonds, chocolate covered espresso beans... of course, as with any trail mix recipe, this one is totally customizable so feel free to sub in other items that are more appealing to you or completely nix anything that doesn't sound so good.
Of course, this mix is great for every day snacking, for when you're hitting the trails, or, if you're looking for a homemade gift idea, package this up in a mason jar and gift it as a party favor, a stocking stuffer, a hostess gift or even to your favorite outdoor adventurer.
Are you guys big snackers? What's your favorite snack? I'm always looking for new ideas!
MOUNTAIN TRAIL MIX
7 cups (1 box) whole wheat chex
3 cups mini pretzels
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon seasoning mix of your choice (it can even just be dried onions/garlic)
2 cups smoked almonds (or smoked nut of your choice)
1 cup dried cherries
2 1/4 cups (14 ounces) dark chocolate covered espresso beans
2 cups corn nuts (I like the pones from Trader Joe's)
8 graham cracker sheets, broken into pieces
1 1/2 cups beef jerky, chopped into small pieces
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Spread the chex and pretzels out on a baking sheet.
Meanwhile, in a small microwaveable bowl, melt the butter. Stir in the worcestershire sauce, salt and seasonings. Drizzle onto the cereal mixture and stir it around a few times. Bake for 50-60 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes or so, until the cereal begins to brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Once the cereal mixture is cool, combine it with all the ingredients in a large bowl or ziplock bag. Store in an airtight container.
Other things that would be good in this mix: dried blueberries, dried cranberries, sesame seeds, mini marshmallows, peanut butter-filled pretzels.