Any seasonal change makes me think about changing up our menu. We’re coming out of the soup and slow-braised meat season and entering the fresh salads and grilled meat season. As I ponder how my kitchen will produce different flavors and textures over the next few months, I realize that our trail snacks tend to be the same ol’, same ol’ almost all year round.
The fact is, there are tons of unique trail mixes available. Some friends once gifted us three different gourmet bags. One was tropical, one was spicy, and the other was nuts and chocolate. My typical lack of variety is not a market issue. So I realized that I should get a little creative with our snacks and shake things up just like I do with our seasonal dinner menu.
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I love picking up boxes of granola bars and energy bars at the discount store. They make quick, easy, and cheap snacks to keep us going on the trail and whatever running around we’re doing. But my inner Martha Stewart loves to make homemade snacks with perfectly chosen and coordinated ingredients. I can still score some deals on loose granola, nuts, and raisins at my discount place to save on some ingredients.
Spring makes me want light textures and fruity tastes. I’m thinking slivered almonds as opposed to whole ones. These will be a little more expensive, but worth it to add levity to the mix. I like the idea of dried strawberries and apples with sweet and acidic notes as opposed to raisins and craisins we usually have. As we move into summer, I think some tropical fruits like mango, pineapple, and coconut will add more variety.
The best foundation for a sturdy trail mix is an inexpensive nut. Peanuts give you the most protein, salt, and crunch for your buck. You’ll see that they are the bedrock of the following recipes. Each one makes a small batch because these ingredients tend to be expensive. These add tasty variety but won’t replace our typical snacks altogether.
Happy Orchard Mix
- 2 cups Peanuts
- 1 Cup Sliced almonds
- 1 Cup Dried apples
- 1/2 cup Dried strawberries
- 1 small tube of M&Ms minis
- 2 cups Peanuts
- 1 cup Slivered almonds
- 1 cup Banana chips
- 1/2 cup Dark chocolate chunks
- Shaved coconut (optional)
Trail Family Tropical Mix
- 1 cup Peanuts
- 1 cup Cashews
- 1/2 cup Dried Mango chunks
- 1/2 cup Dried pineapple bits
- 1/4 cup Shaved coconut
Not all trail mixes have to be fancy pants. We love GORP, which stands for good ol’ raisins and peanuts. Typically, I add M&Ms to the mix because everything is better with chocolate. The best ratio is equal parts of all three ingredients. That won’t prevent the last handful from being all peanuts, but nothing is perfect.
We love getting our kids in the kitchen with us. A homemade trail mix for the new season is the perfect project that any age child can enjoy. It might get them excited for a new adventure too.
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