Another thing this mix is good for? Gift-giving. That is how the recipe came about for me--I was trying to come up with a homemade gift (because those are the best kind, right?!) for my great friend, Ashley's, birthday.
Ashley and I met our freshmen year of college. I remember when I was looking for a good spot in the theater seating of our basic nutrition class on the first day of college. I usually sit near the back of the class. Not because I'm a bad kid (we all know those stereotypes) but because I see screens and boards better from farther away. And yes...I would like to be able to take my phone out and text occasionally or work on other homework if needed without the professor knowing. Don't judge me.
Anyways, Ashley was sitting by herself near the back of the giant theater seating area. I sat near her, we exchanged the normal nervous first-day pleasantries. We began to talk more and more over time and became fast friends. We clicked. It was a true peanut-butter-meets-jelly kind of moment
I was even invited to attend her wedding to her husband that November. And happily took notes for her in all of our joint classes while she was away on her honeymoon cruise since our schedules were very similar.
With Ashley's birthday approaching, I wanted to make her a homemade treat, but while I usually lean more towards the sweeter treats to give out as gifts, I knew Ashley would appreciate a more savory snack. Hence, the salty and sweet snack mix was born.
Thank you for being a friend I can always rely on, for being a die-hard Razorback fan just like me, for all of the hand-written snail mail cards
For being there to lend an ear when I had stressful things going on in life, for understanding and being open to talking about our mutual past anxiety struggles, for supporting me through every new venture I've taken on.
Thank you, Ashley.
--cashews, dried fruit, pretzel sticks, sunflower seeds, pistachios, other small crackers like Cheez-its, other Chex cereals, Cheerios, etc.
Sweet and Smoky Snack Mix
For the Mix:
2 1/2 cups mini pretzels
1 1/2 cups peanuts (roasted, unsalted)
1 1/2 cups pecan halves
2 cups Honey Nut Chex cereal
1 1/2 cups Original Goldfish crackers
For the Seasoning:
2 Tbsp. coconut oil (melted)
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. cumin
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. liquid smoke
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 Tbsp. maple syrup (sugar-free, optional)
1 Tbsp. Splenda brown sugar blend (OR 1 1/2 Tbsp. brown sugar)
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Add all of the mix ingredients into a large bowl and toss to combine.
Add all of the seasoning ingredients into a small, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave 30-40 seconds. Stir to combine ingredients well. Gently and slowly pour seasoning ingredients over mix ingredients into the large bowl while tossing to combine.
Bake in oven for 1 hour, gently tossing snack mix every 15 minutes. I find it quite tasty to eat hot, fresh from the oven. Can also be served once cooled. Store in airtight container or bag.
Healthy Recipe Tidbits
- Used Splenda brown sugar baking blend in substitute for regular brown sugar to make the recipe diabetic-friendly.
- Coconut oil is a healthier choice of oil to use versus your regular vegetable oils.
- Paprika is noted for it's large abundance of carotenoids--the pigmen that gives it it's deep red color. Paprika benefits your eyesight by helping to prevent harmful light rays from damaging your eye tissue and it's Vitamin A abundance helps aid in healthy cell development.
- Peanuts are great sources of Vitamin E, niacin, folate, protein, and manganese. Peanuts also pack a powerful punch of monounsaturated fats, which are known for their heart-health benefits.
One of your favorite memories from college with a good friend or group of friends?