August 31st is National Trail Mix Day, but we’re jumping the gun with today’s tip.
Trail mix is a popular grab-and-go snack. Leave out the chocolate chips (substitute toffee chips or M&Ms), and it’s a great hot-weather grab-and-go.
It’s also fun to make your own creative blend of ingredients.
12+ USES FOR EXTRA (LEFTOVER) TRAIL MIX
Turn trail mix leftovers into:
Baking: Mix into brownies, cookies, loaf cake (carrot bread, zucchini bread), muffins (toppings or mixed into batter); make granola bars.
Beverages: Garnish whipped cream on hot chocolate, milk shakes, smoothies; serve in ramekins with hot or cold drinks.
Breakfast Cereal: Top cold or hot cereal, overnight oats, pancakes and waffles (garnish and/or batter ingredient).
Breakfast Dairy: Top yogurt or cottage cheese.
Candy: Mix into homemade chocolate bark.
Dessert: Garnish cupcakes, fruit salad, iced carrot cake, pudding, zucchini bread.
Ice cream: Top frozen yogurt, ice cream, sorbet.
Party favor: Set up a “trail mix bar” and let guests mix their own, to go.
Salad: Garnish green salads.
Salad: Mix into protein salads (egg, chicken, tuna).
Sandwich: Top a cream cheese, jelly sandwich or peanut butter sandwich; a cream cheese bagel; mild grilled cheese (e.g. Brie) or goat cheese sandwich.
Side: Mix into a grain salad (for a trail mix without candy).
Snack: Toss with popcorn (recipe below).
RECIPE: SPICY TRAIL MIX POPCORN
This recipe is adapted from Walnuts.org. Here are more recipes incorporating cheese, peanut butter and other ingredients.
2 large egg whites
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 to 2 teaspoon kosher salt (use the lesser amount if using lightly salted popcorn)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups trail mix
9 cups freshly popped unsalted popcorn, see instructions below
1 cup dried cherries, cranberries, golden raisins or other colorful dried fruit
1. PREHEAT the oven to 325°F. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper or no-stick aluminum foil; set aside.
2. COMBINE the egg whites in a large bowl with the Worcestershire sauce, paprika, cayenne, cumin, curry, salt, and pepper. Whisk until very well combined.
3. ADD the trail mix and toss well to coat completely. Add the popcorn and toss until the popcorn is well-speckled with the granola mixture. You will still see a lot of the white popcorn, but that’s O.K.
4. TRANSFER the mixture to the prepared baking tray; spread it out over the entire sheet. Bake until the coating is dry and the popcorn is crisp, about 15 minutes. Allow to cool.
5. ADD the raisins and mix well. You can stored the popcorn in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days.
 Top pancakes and waffles (photo courtesy Sierra Trading Post).
 Top a smoothie. Here’s the recipe for this chocolate breakfast smoothie from Natural Comfort Kitchen.
 Here’s the recipe from Natural Comfort Kitchen (with homemade yogurt).
Is it trail mix popcorn, or popcorn with trail mix. Here’s the recipe from Delicious Meets Healthy.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN TRAIL MIX
Mix and match:
Candy: carob chips, chocolate chips/chunks, crystallized ginger, mini marshmallows, M&M’s, Reese’s Pieces, toffee, yogurt clusters
Cereal: Cheerios, Chex, Corn Flakes, graham cracker cereal, Grape Nuts, mini shredded wheat, rolled oats
Dried fruits: apples, apricots, banana chips, blueberries, candied orange peel (gourmet!), coconut, dates, dried cherries and cranberries (our favorites!), dried mango, figs, raisins
Exotica: crystallized ginger, Japanese rice crackers, jerky bits, sesame sticks, wasabi peas
Nuts almonds, cashews, pecans, pistachios, walnuts or other favorite (chop large nuts into chunks)
Savory: freeze-dried edamame, peas or veggie chips; pretzels, mini crackers, roasted chickpeas, soy beans or soy nuts, wasabi peas
Seeds: chia, pepitas (pumpkin seeds), sunflower seeds
THE HISTORY OF TRAIL MIX