Mixi Trixi, aka Homemade Trail Mix

You know what our six-year-old wanted when she woke up this past Sunday morning? Mixi trixi. Yep. Asked for it specifically. That confused look on your face right now is pretty much how mine looked when she made that request. But thank goodness she offered to make it too, and teach me something in the process.

Because that’s how I found out that mixi trixi is really just my daughter’s inventive name for trail mix. (Apparently I was taking just a little too long with breakfast.)

But it reminded me how fun it is to 1) be six years old, and 2) be given a little free rein in the kitchen. It was the weekend after all, and when she asked me whether I’d be posting this on our blog, well, how could I refuse!

So we pulled out open cereal boxes, dried fruit, nuts, pretzels and even a nearly-finished bag of chocolate chips (hey, no judgement…it was the weekend!) and Daughter 1 mixed up a big batch of mixi trixi with some help from her sister.

Getting our mix on

Getting our mix on

Now, this recipe is not likely to win any culinary awards. I’m not sure it even qualifies as a recipe because the ingredients will inevitably be different depending on who makes it and when, and what is on hand in the pantry. But what it lacks in precision it more than makes up for in creativity. It gets the kids into the kitchen, builds confidence, encourages tasting, is a great activity not only for a weekend morning but for a snow day afternoon, and can actually be a healthy treat if you balance the ingredients the little ones dump into the bowl.

Chocolate chips...not just for breakfast anymore

Chocolate chips…not just for breakfast anymore

Our girls grazed on this throughout the day and their batch of mixi trixi was gone by late afternoon. Sure, the chocolate chips were the first things nibbled up, but when all was said and done they also got a good helping of antioxidants, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, unsaturated fats, and other vitamins and minerals. To make an even healthier version you can use cereals with low amounts of added sugar and look for unsweetened dried fruits. They will have the same number of calories as the fresh version of the fruit, only dehydrated and very concentrated…potentially encouraging you to eat more so watch portion sizes. Try to use unsalted nuts too, although I admit that having at least one salted variety in the mix adds some nice variety. The roasted peanuts we put in ours were especially tasty. This is, not surprisingly, both vegetarian and vegan. Of course, you may decide to splurge with your mixi trixi by reaching for that bag of Fruit Loops, in which case I can only say…go for it. The fun factor far outweighs a ticket from the nutrition police here. Just promise me you’ll make something like our chicken with kale, chickpeas, cauliflower and tomato for dinner if you do because it’s all about balance.

Happy mixing!

Happy trails

Happy trails

Mixi Trixi, aka Homemade Trail Mix

Ingredients:
1 – 2 cups of mixed cereal — we used Kix, Honey Nut Cheerios and granola
1 cup mixed dried fruit — we used raisins, dried blueberries, and dried cranberries. You could try adding dried apples, dried cherries, or any other fruit that you wish
1/2 cup mini pretzels if you like ’em
1/2 cup mixed nuts — we used roasted peanuts but you could add sunflower seeds, almonds, cashews, walnuts…whatever you have on hand
1/4 cup semisweet or unsweetened chocolate chips

This couldn’t be easier: all the ingredients go into a medium bowl. Mix it up and enjoy. Let your little ones do the measuring and pouring — you can teach some good math skills while boosting their confidence in the kitchen.  Talk about making healthy choices, but then allow them one or two splurge ingredients too.

All the ingredients in the bowl - time for some mixing for this mixi trixi

All the ingredients in the bowl – time for some mixing for this mixi trixi

Kid rating: Four-and-a-half stars. For our girls, the only way this could possibly have gotten any better would have been for me to green-light mini marshmallows or M&Ms in the mix. Thank goodness we had neither in the pantry. Sweets aside, they were more than happy with their creation and it kept them busy — both making it, and snacking on it — for a good portion of the day.
Parent rating: Four stars. Great little snack mix. My salt-attuned taste buds kind-of wanted a bit of a coating on the mix (a la Chex Mix), but my blood pressure and waistline were probably happier with this version. And, once you get to snacking, there is a little something in this mix for everyone. Crunchy, sweet, savory…really, quite yummy! And now that I know what mixi trixi is, it will make regular snack-time appearances in our house.

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