I know that Sarah has made some amazing food over the years and that I am just beginning to be able to cook with any skill, but sometimes it doesn’t take fancy food to please people. Sure I love a homemade chicken pot pie or Italian stuffed chicken when we are at home. On the road though, you don’t always have the time or energy to make a culinary delight that can be packed into your travel plans. We like to hike and if you have read any of this blog then you know we love museums. Occasionally we eat at restaurants, if we always ate out though it would get expensive quick. I would love to say that I had the idea to make mixes on my own, but it was actually my mother and father-in-law that planted the idea in my head.
When we stayed with them for Christmas they would rummage around in their pantry and slap together a little nut mix with some baking chips in it. Well they didn’t know what they had done and I took it to the next level. Not only have I used every baking chip you could think of, but I have thrown in almost every type of dried fruit too, not to mention different cereals, granola’s, pretzels, and even popcorn just trying to make some great flavor combos. That is really what making your own Trail Food Deluxe Mix is all about, that and the fact that is less expensive than buying the pre-made stuff (it lasts longer too). Some of the stronger flavors will take over the mix and the goal is to have a balanced mix that the whole family can enjoy while we hike. One time I was really adventurous and I let the kids make the mix! Lot’s of candy didn’t really make for a great mix, but they sure had fun helping out with it (a word to the wise, make sure the adults seal the container before the shaking fun begins or disaster will ensue). Below are two different mixes to help you get started and at the bottom is a list of some of the ingredients that I use to make it different each time.
Peanut Butter Banana
Sour Dough Pretzel Nibblers
Peanut Butter Baking Chips
Cocoa Roast Almonds
Roasted Mixed Nuts (I prefer lightly salted)
Raisin & Honey Granola (Usually I like to use Granola Chunks, but Granola tends
to be expensive so we end up buying what ever is on sale when we pick it up)
Cranberry Cashew Yogurt
Yogurt Baking Chips
Cocoa Roast Almonds (These things are easily replaced by dark chocolate baking chips, which are less expensive)
I normally don’t even put each ingredient into a ramekin, but I thought it would look more like some real cooking if I did this time for the pictures. I mean this isn’t rocket science or anything. I just layer the ingredients in a container until it is half full then put the lid on and give it a shake. Then I keep layering ingredients in till it is done and shake it one last time. These two mixes turned out great and will last for several hikes or trips to town. Every time I make a mix it is different and the purpose of this article is just to give some ideas on how to get started making your own. I would love to hear about some perfect combination that made your mix great or a unique ingredient that really hits the spot. Just comment below about what you discovered so that others can try it out too. Here are some of the ingredients that I like use.
Baking Chips (Dark Chocolate Chips, Yogurt Baking Chips, Cinnamon Chips, Peanut Butter Chips)
Nuts (I like them all and will use what ever, but a special mention to flavored nuts because adding them in really changes the mix. I will usually still use just roasted nuts and add less of the flavored nuts in)
Dried Fruit (We love banana chips and pineapple, but both are strong flavors that will affect the rest of the mix. If you want something subtler apples work great. Since we absolutely love berries I throw them into the mix sometimes too, though cranberries and raisins are great because they don’t over power the rest of the mix)
Candy (Yes sometimes I will throw M&M’s or Reese’s Pieces into a mix, I just don’t go overboard like the kids did. Also keep in mind people will reach in and grab a hand full to eat, so stay away from hard candy)
Granola (pieces work best, loose tends to be messy with kids), Pretzels, Popcorn, Small Crackers, Caramel Corn, Cereals (Life and Chex work good)
As you can tell it is a pretty all inclusive list when you are making your own mix. You could even season the mix, but be careful not to over do it. I usually just let the flavors in the ingredient’s do the talking and leave the real cooking to Sarah. We have always finished off the mixes though and the kids absolutely love them. The parents like being able to just throw a container in the lunch bag or our hydration packs too. I know it isn’t a fancy recipe and sometime in the future I might have Sarah film me making Hot Wings or Nachos, but these simple mixes are what keep us going on the road, on the trail, or where ever this crazy adventure takes us.