Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Homemade Snack Mix

Homemade snack mix

When we had the boys' birthday party a few weeks ago, I wanted to spend as little money as possible.  My parents had bought a construction party/face painting package at our school's silent auction, so that took care of some activities, paper goods, a few decorations, and favors.  That just left us with the cost of the food.

Lukas, waiting to be transformed into Spider Man.

snake face painting
Koda the snake!

We scheduled the party for 1:30 so we wouldn't need to feed everyone lunch and it would be over before dinner.  I already shared with you the rocket ship cake and dirt cupcakes I made for them.  You can find them here.  I also bought two boxes of ice cream to go with it, but wanted to provide the kids with something a little more substantial.  I thought a snack mix would be the perfect thing--lots of delicious goodies in one snack.

I normally don’t feed my kids snack mixes because they are so calorically dense.  But when out on the trail or expending a lot of energy, it is just what your body needs.  And our little guests were burning a lot of calories painting our fence with water and hammering nails into boards.

The boys worked really hard!!

I headed over to the bulk bins at WinCo, knowing I would find the best prices there.  They do carry a variety of trail and snack mixes, but I was on a quest to make my own.  The cheapest mix in the bins was $2.97/lb. and contained peanuts, raisins, color buttons (generic M&M’s), and almonds.  The only one of those items that might cost $2.97/lb. is the almonds.  You’re paying a lot to have them all mixed together.

I decided on a mixture of pretzel twists, salted peanuts, corn Chex, raisins, dried cranberries, and dark chocolate chips.  Everything except the Chex came from the bins (I bought those on sale a few weeks before).  The most expensive ingredient was the dried cranberries at $3.76/lb., but everything else cost below the $2.97/lb. I’d pay for a pre-mixed snack mix.

snack mix ingredients:  Chex, dark chocolate chips, pretzel twists, raisins, dried cranberries, peanuts

One of the great things about making snack mixes, is that you don’t even need to measure—my almost-four-year-olds can make it.  But for the sake of analyzing my savings, I measured and came up with the following recipe.

Trail Mix
6 oz. pretzel twists
8 oz. salted peanuts
4 oz. corn Chex
3 oz. raisins
3 oz. dried cranberries
4 oz. dark chocolate chips

Measure all ingredients into gallon zip-top bag and mix.  Yield:  28 oz.  Total cost:  $4.10.  Unit cost:  $2.34/lb.!!

I knew I didn’t want to serve it out of a bowl.  I didn’t want their grimy hands touching all of it.  So I portioned it out into Chinese to-go boxes that I bought at Cash & Carry.  They are so convenient for packing meals for people, sending snacks for the boys’ preschool class, and giving cupcakes.

snack mix in to-go boxes

So next time you’re planning a party or a day on the trails, remember that you don’t have to break the bank to have a great, delicious time.

Mom and daughter with faces painted with flowers
My beautiful girl!

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