baked oats green chile chicken enchiladas chow mein bakery-style butter cookies

copyright jennifer yu © 2004-2023 all rights reserved: no photos or content may be reproduced without prior written consent


Recipe: trail mix

It is now July. You know what July means, don’t you?

July means we are into the thick of summer.

July means half the year is over.

July (in this country) means Fourth of July celebrations, barbecues, and fireworks! You guys know how lousy we are at following holiday instructions. Instead of celebrating, we exercised and got some work done. Instead of barbecue, we had pad thai. But there is no “instead of fireworks” because I totally love pyrotechnics. Love the pretty colored lights that rain down from the sky when nighttime finally settles over the mountains. And what I see with my eyes is never quite the same as what the camera captures – but I like them both!

You can view the rest of the fireworks set on my photo blog.

July is also the month when we will eventually be able to hike into the high country without having to wear or carry skis or crampons. That point in which the trails are no longer classified as “mixed terrain” is true summer for us. Our great room becomes a sort of giant locker room and instead of having a bike bin and a ski bin, we will transition into the bike bin and the hike bin. Of course, they overfloweth resulting in the multiple packs, water hydration bladders, boots, shoes, gloves, hats, jackets, sunnies, sunblocks, maps and snacks strewn about.

i own plenty of footwear

when i see my platypus, i think “let’s go!”

I’m pretty particular about my snacks when we head into the backcountry. Contrary to what so many people think, we actually prefer no fuss, bare bones food when we camp, hike, or backpack. I don’t go into the backcountry to spend a lot of time preparing fancy food. I do plenty of that at home. I go into the mountains for the mountains. When we hike, we always have some emergency calories on hand like LARA bars. I’ve tried many other “bars” over the years and I cannot get them down without a sudden desire to hurl. We cycled through several varieties of trail mixes (from Trader Joes) early on, but none of them resonated with my taste buds. Trail mixes are based on GORP – Good Old Raisins and Peanuts. Neither of us are huge fans of raisins or peanuts.

but cranberries? yes

and cashew nuts

It’s not hard to make your own version of GORP. The raisins provide the sweet and the peanuts provide the salty and nutty. What I end up liking turns GORP into a sort of alphabet soup. Because I don’t live near a Trader Joe’s (ahem…) I get all of my trail mix ingredients from the bulk foods section at my local Whole Foods. Why? Because they offer organic versions of everything. In addition to the cranberries and cashews, we like to add…

roasted sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

and chocolate-covered almonds and raisins

Yes, the chocolate-covered almonds and raisins are all organic too. Chocolate typically dries me out on the trail and I generally prefer to have nothing to do with it. Jeremy, however, loves chocolate anytime, anywhere. He is a chocolate fiend. So I added these in the hopes that the almonds and raisins would balance out the presence of the chocolate. It really is a nice touch. The beauty of trail mixes is that they are anything you want them to be.

pour everything into a bowl or a large bag


When you grab a handful of this mix and pop it into your mouth, the flavors and textures are satisfying… gratifying. Tweak it to your liking – you can’t really go wrong. And we all know that anything eaten on the trail or in the backcountry tastes ten times better than it does at home. What do you put in your trail mix?

happy trails

field testing the trail mix (she’s a winner!)

Trail Mix
[print recipe]

1 cup dried cranberries (organic)
1 cup roasted cashew nuts (organic)
1/2 cup roasted sunflower seeds (organic)
1/2 cup roasted pepitas (pumpking seeds) (organic)
1/2 cup chocolate-covered almonds (organic)
1/2 cup chocolate-covered raisins (organic)

Mix all ingredients together. Makes 4 cups.

19 nibbles at “july”

  1. Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga says:

    I love making my own trail mix. I usually add whatever odds and ends I have opened..usually a smattering of random nuts and dried fruit from TJs and also choc chips, white choc chips, must have chocolate in it :)

  2. apron Appeal says:

    When we go hiking/backpacking (which we haven’t done in AGES) we go simple too, but when we go camping…whoa, we are little out of control with the food. We eat better camping then we do when we are at home. Or maybe it’s just that we are so energy needy from all the rafting we are doing that ANY food put in front of us seems like it’s the greatest food EVER! (we’ve been rafting in Jackson Hole just about every year since I was 9)

  3. marla says:

    I am with you….homemade trail mix is the best. Love all my nuts toasted and salted to taste anyway. So happy that I get to see you this week. :)

  4. Cheryl Arkison says:

    My girls make themselves trail mix nearly daily. Pretty much the same sort of mix as yours. Does playing on the swing set and sandbox qualify as the same activity level thought?

  5. Tamar@StarvingofftheLand says:

    I think I’m about the only person I know who can hike all day and still run a calorie surplus, such is my love of trail mix. The only solution is to bring a trail mix I don’t really like, so this one is definitely out.

  6. Heidi @ Food Doodles says:

    Love the fireworks photos :D I’m going to go check out some more.

    Love the chocolate covered ingredients in the trail mix. Why have I never thought of that? I always just add chocolate chips or chunks. Looks yummy :)

  7. winnie lee says:

    My trail mix is similar to yours, I also add dried apricots and dark chocolate M & M’s instead of chocolate covered fruit or nuts. That way there is no melted chocolate.

  8. Fiona says:

    Coconut!!!!!!! And extra exclamation marks, too.

    Gotta have those emergency bars, though. I fell and broke a leg in the Angeles crest 10 years ago and Clif bars were the only food that night and the next morning. It was enough fuel to get out – which is the point.

  9. Belinda says:

    Hi Jen! I’ve been a silent reader of your blog for YEARS!!! Various cities in Malaysia and now, Hong Kong. I can’t recall ever commenting because I’m just lazy like that but I laughed so hard when I saw the photo that goes with the caption ‘I own plenty of footwear’. LOL. Where are the heels, stilettos, wedges, sandals, etc? :-P Well, since I am here already, just want to let you know I LOVE stalking your blog and I miss curry laksa. Okay, that’s all. Fades into the background…

  10. Hannah says:

    ok, i don’t know if it’s just my circle of friends or what but i’ve noticed over the years that more men love chocolate (secretly and then publicly) than women. just a personal observation. ;P

  11. Melissa @ Baking For The Boys says:

    Yes, I was just telling my husband that I couldn’t believe the year is half over. I love homemade trail mix as well.

  12. Bridget says:

    Ha – all I can think of when I see chocolate-covered things in trail mix is MELTY! I guess that’s yet another difference of living in the desert versus living in the mountains!

    Speaking of that, I was in the mountains in Colorado this weekend. My parents have a cabin at Vallecito Reservoir, outside of Durango. I chatted with one of their neighbors a bit and he said he’d moved there from Nederland. He said he liked Nederland more than Vallecito because it was more hippy-y. Heh!

  13. Margie says:

    munch, munch, munch….YUMMY!

    I haven’t built a trail mix in ages, but all of that is about to change.

    I think I’ll get me some yogurt raisins, coconut, and toss in some wasabi sunflower seeds for a bit of excitement. Cashews will turn the tide on what used to be a peanut cache. Your idea is brilliant, just as are your photo’s!

  14. Kristi says:

    yum! This is definitely my next hiking trail mix.. loving it :)

    (& LOVE your blog)

  15. Jessica says:

    Awesome photos of the fireworks! They almost look fake they are so perfect! Looks like y’all had a fabulous 4th of July! :-)

  16. Andrea says:

    My last ‘long-car-journey’ mix was just thrown together with whatever I had to hand but it’s my favourite so far: lots of dried cherries from our tree, cranberries, macadamia and pine nuts and some pumpkin seeds and pistachios. I am no fan of raisins either although the other day I came across some infused with orange. Weird but certainly an improvement.

  17. MJC says:

    Toasted pecans!!!!!!!

  18. Joy says:

    That is a great snack.

  19. jenyu says:

    marla – great seeing you :) xo

    Cheryl – as long as they’re outside playing, that’s a good thing!

    Tamar – I don’t think you of all people should worry about a calorie surplus, my dear :)

    winnie lee – ah well, when we hike it’s usually up high and not terribly hot (otherwise I might not hike it!)

    Fiona – JEEZUS!!!! Glad you’re ok.

    Belinda – thanks for piping up!! :) You’re always welcome here.

    Hannah – I think for me, MOST people I know love chocolate. ha ha!

    Bridget – yeah, we have lots of those dirty hippies running around ;)

    Margie – you know, I love yogurt raisins too but Jeremy won’t have anything to do with them. So chocolate it is…

    Kristi – thanks!

    Jessica – I know, I love how different they look in photos compared to what we see with our eyes.

leave a reply