When March arrives, my husband and I are ready to shake off our winter hibernation and hit the ground running. With last weekend’s sunshine, we went to the library twice and the park three times. We also went for two walks and one bike ride. Yeah, we might’ve been suffering a bit from a case of cabin fever.
With young children in tow, having a ready supply of snacks is a must. Oh, who am I kidding. As I mentioned in this Healthy Snack post, my husband and I also suffer from LBSCBDO. I am a firm believer that an outing is only as successful as the number of snacks you pack.
So, bring on spring. Bring on the sunshine. Bring on snacks.
Our current snack of choice is nuts or dried fruit. Throw them together, and you have trail mix. Add chocolate, and you have something worth talking about.
I love buying my dried fruit at Trader Joe’s because they carry several options (mango, pineapple, raisins, cherries, apples) that are unsulfured and unsweetened. An ingredient list of one item (dried mango, for example) is a rare thing. Costco or Winco are other economical options. Here’s a quick list to give you an idea of a few prices in the fruit & nut department:
- Almonds - $9.79/3 lb. ($3.26/lb.)
- Cashews – $14.99/2.5 lb. ($6/lb.)
- Organic raisins – around $6.99/4 lb. ($1.75/lb.)
- Almonds – $4.49/lb.
- Dark Chocolate Covered Raisins – $3.99
- Dried Bing Cherries – $3.49/8 oz. (6.98/lb.)
- Golden Raisins – $2.69/lb.
- Honey Roasted Peanuts – $3.79/lb.
- Mini PB Cups – $3.49
- Pepitas (Pumpkin Seeds) – $5.49/lb.
- Pistachios – $4.99/8 oz. ($9.98/lb.)
- Sunflower Seeds – $1.99/lb.
- Almonds – $3.98/lb.
- Cashews – $8.07/lb.
- Dried Cranberries – $3.67/lb.
- M & M’s – $3.96/lb.
- Peanuts – $2.78/lb.
- Pistachios – $10.79/lb.
- Pumpkin Seeds – $4.19/lb.
- Raisins – $1.78-$2.78/lb.
- Sunflower Seeds – $1.38-$1.99/lb.
Roasting almonds improves their crunch and flavor. You could easily buy already roasted almonds for just a bit more than raw almonds per pound. However, I prefer to roast my own (surprise!). I like controlling the amount and type of oil and salt. Plus, they taste fresher and are super easy to do.
The only trick to roasting almonds is finding salt that will stick well. Thin, flaky salt works best; I recommend Penzeys Spices Kosher Style Flake Salt (If you haven’t signed up for their catalog, do it now! It usually contains a great coupon.)
4 c. whole almonds
1 T. oil (canola, olive, or melted coconut oil )
flaky kosher salt
- Pre-heat the oven to 350-degrees. For easier clean-up, line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil; set aside.
- Add the almonds to a large measuring cup or bowl. Pour the oil over the top of the almonds and toss until they are well coated.
- Dump the almonds onto the baking sheet and spread out in a single layer.
- Bake at 350-degrees for 12-13 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with the desired amount of flaky kosher salt. Let the almonds cool. Store in a closed container.
Making Trail Mix
Ok, I won’t insult your intelligence by walking you through the finer points of making trail mix. However, I know I used to buy it pre-mixed instead of doing it myself. What was I thinking?! There are so many tasty combinations you can create. Each batch can be different, all perfectly suited to your own personal tastes. I copy TJ’s Peanut Butter Cups Trax Mix: almonds, cashews, dried cherries, and mini peanut butter cups. Yum.
Mix up a big bowl and divide it into smaller containers or snack bags to bring on your next adventure. Or trip to the park.
Looking for more nutty inspiration? Check out our Sweet & Salty Roasted Nuts recipe.
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