Master Mixers: Trail Mix Edition
Trail Mix: The Perfect Camping Snack
Welcome to this edition of Master Mixers, the home of recipes whose only instructions are mixing! ;)
This past weekend, my husband and I went camping in northern Michigan with another couple. (I have the mosquito bites to prove it.) After my initial meal discussion with the other wife, I thought I was on snack duty, a responsibility I took quite seriously. (As it turned out, she took it seriously as well, and we ended up with way more snacks than we had snacking time.)
As I was considering what types of snacks to bring, I remembered that I had just bought a jar of peanuts -- perfect! Then, I remembered a bag of M&M's in the back of my cupboard that needed using -- twice as nice. Thus, the idea to make my own trail mix was born.
Trail mix is an all-time favorite of mine (I can buy a 2.5 lb canister at GFS, and my husband and I devour it in just a couple of movie nights: I salve my conscience in the fact that the addition of nuts and dried fruit provide some health benefit, as opposed to eating a straight bag of M&M's. ;). It is the perfect take-along snack: sweet and salty... good-for-you nuts and kind-of-good-for-you-in-smaller-quantities (who's counting, besides my scale?) chocolate.
It's one of the easiest snacks to mix up for movie night, car trips, after work or school... or any time. July 28 is National Milk Chocolate Day, so why not enjoy a batch then?
All images copyright 2013 WhiteIsland88.
Choose Your Mixers
I've read that raw nuts provide more nutritional benefit than roasted (typically, less processed food is more nutritional, so I believe it in this case, as well). Because of this, I've been buying raw nuts recently, and I love them. I also just read, however, that in the U.S., truly raw nuts are pretty rare, because of a law requiring pasteurization. So, I guess the "raw" nuts in the stores are still partially processed, but the flavor is different than roasted/salted, and I enjoy them, regardless.
You'll need nuts as the base for your trail mix. I mixed what nuts I had in the house, but these mixed nuts would make the job easy!
I love pistachios, and I considered putting them into my mix, to shake things up from the traditional, but I would have had to shell them all first, which didn't seem worth the effort. Also, I probably would have eaten half of them instinctively before they made it to the mixing bowl. ;) Shelled pistachios are definitely the way to go on this, if you'd like to add them to your own concoction.
Raisins are a trail mix staple... but grapes are among the top 14 "dirtiest" fruits and vegetables (i.e. most pesticides used in growing), according to an article I saw from Women's Health. For that reason, I would recommend buying them organic. These raisins from SunMaid are reasonably priced.
I grabbed a bag of mixed dried fruit for my trail mix. It's convenient and adds some variety.
Sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds would be a great addition. Both nuts and seeds provide great nutrition and some health benefits. Here again, I would prefer raw.
Raw vs. Roasted - Which do you prefer? Do you think there's a nutritional difference?
I'm no nutritional expert, and I'd love to hear what you have to say on the issue. Do you think there is a benefit to raw nuts and seeds versus roasted? If you've tried both, which do you prefer?
Would you prefer your trail mix nuts and seeds raw or roasted?
Gather Your Ingredients
Trail mix is hard to mess up. You can use whatever you have on hand, and make it as simple or complex as you like.
I used the bag of M&M's from my cupboard and half the jar of peanuts (lightly salted). The rest of the nuts I had on hand were raw, and I just threw in a handful or so of each for some variety: almonds, cashews and walnuts. I decided against pecans and pistachios this round, but I'm sure I'll be mixing more batches in the future and experimenting with flavors.
I was going to use just a box of raisins I had on hand, but when I went to Aldi for some groceries, I saw an inexpensive bag of dried mixed fruit (pictured below, it included banana chips, shaved coconut, papaya, pineapple and two kinds of raisins), so I just added that to the mix instead.
Be A Mover and Shaker!
Here's the approximate recipe I used. Of course, you can adjust your own mix to your preferences.
- Half a large jar of peanuts (about 10 oz or 1 1/4 C)
- 1/2 C each of additional nuts (walnuts, almonds, cashews)
- Bag of M&M's (this was a very chocolatey mix, which I thought was perfect, but you may prefer to use half a bag, or so)
- Small bag (I didn't check the weight, but I'm guessing it was 4-6 oz) of mixed dried fruit or raisins
Add the ingredients to an air-tight container (I used a snap-lock tupperware box) and stir or shake to mix.
The Spice of Life
As I was searching for products on Amazon, I came across these delicious treats. I think I may try a savory mix for my next batch. I love the idea of using flavored nuts in the mix.
You could also mix in crackers (e.g. Cheez-its), mini pretzels, maybe even popcorn for your own unique spin on this treat.
- The 14 Dirtiest Fruits and Veggies | Women's Health Magazine
Use this handy guide to make sure you eat only organic versions of the dirtiest fruits and veggies—the ones grown with the highest pesticide levels.
Have you made your own? Do you have a favorite recipe? Sweet or savory?