Valentine Number 3 (Squirrel Nut Mix)

During the month of February, I'm making note of 29 things I love.  Things outside of hubby and parents and kids, all of whom are my first-string Valentines.

I'm talking about second-string things, things that simply add spice or convenience or additional joy to life.

Food is certainly one of those things.   To be honest, in my list of 29 beloved things, I was relieved to see that not all 29 of them were snack items.

Because, the truth is, I'm a bit of a snacker.   I like to munch every couple hours. 

A few years ago, munching every few hours was called 'grazing.'  Like cattle.

That term isn't used so much anymore, and that's a good thing.  I don't know any woman who wants to be compared to, or linked in any way to, a cow. 

So, we're back to 'snacking.'  Some diets incorporate two snacks a day.  I think this is a good idea.  Snacking keeps my body from thinking it's starving.  Which seems ridiculous to me.  I would have to drop fifty pounds before the thought of starvation would even approach the radar of anyone who knows me.

I try to snack on healthy things, like bananas, apples, and pretzels.  But, they're all better with peanut butter.  Or Nutella. 

You see my problem. 

About a year ago, I discovered a nut mix that serves as a good snack for me.  It has only healthy fats that nuts contain and just six tablespoons of real maple syrup. 

No partially hydrogenated anything.  I love it.  Squirrels would love it too.  So much so, that I call it Squirrel Mix.   You can call it what you want.

In case you struggle with grazing snacking too, here's the recipe - my Valentine Number 3.

Squirrel Nut Mix
* 4 cups nuts
I think the best mix is this:  
2 cups pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 cup walnuts, halved
1 cup whole almonds, halved
You can exchange any cup above for 1 cup sunflower seeds, if you like.  (Cashews would be yummy, but they're not a heart-healthy nut.)
* 6 T. real maple syrup.  This is kind of pricey, but pancake syrup does not work here.   It burns and ruins the mix.

* Dried fruit.  Cranberries and blueberries are what I like.  I've not tried other fruits, but I think raisins, banana chips, etc would be fine too. 

Toss all the nuts (not the fruit) together with the syrup, coating them evenly.  Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray.  Spread nuts thinly onto the pan.  Bake at 300 degrees for about 25 minutes, stirring the nuts twice, until golden.  Cool. 

Stir in the dried fruit, as much or as little as you like.  Store in an airtight container.

I think this mix would last a long time, especially if refrigerated, or frozen.  Mine is always gone within two weeks.  It's great eaten by itself, or sprinkled onto cold cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, or ice cream.

You don't even have to add chocolate chips to this mix to make it good.

But you could.

At least during the month of February.


Kenya G. Johnson said...

Thank you for this recipe. I am actually going to "see" my dad on Saturday so I'm making him a goody basket for Father's Day. My mom is coming to stay with me for a week so he will be whining about what he can eat. I thought a goody basket would be nice for starters. This will be a perfect addition. I'm not sure I've seen pumpkin seeds around so thank you for the substitutes. This is going to be fun.

Kerry Fountain said...

YUM! This sounds wonderful and would be a great snack. Hmmm....I just don't have real maple syrup in the house....even though I know is should!

Thanks for sharing on our Healthy Tuesdays Blog Hop.
Kerry from Country Living On A Hill

Becca Acker said...

Yummy! This sounds really good. I think I'm gonna pin this. Thanks for sharing at my Healthy Tuesday hop, Mare :)