This recipe started off as a very simple snack to which we were introduced by our neighbor Lauren. It as so crisp and delicious, I just had to find out how it was made.
My daughter and I experimented with it till we were really happy with it. One year we decided to make some for all her school teachers as a holiday gift. The first year we put them in large, quart size mason jars with a Starbucks gift card and/or a Japanese eraser that comes in cute animal shapes. We tied a bit of ribbon around the neck of the jar and it was a hit. In subsequent years we bagged them in colorful cellophane bags. They were still a hit and, some of her teachers began to ask her about the holiday mix by Thanksgiving.
This year, we even made a second batch in the Spring and distributed them to the teachers. Both my daughter and I loved the warm feeling we got when this simple gesture was met with such enthusiastic pleasure form her teachers.
Today was my daughter’s last day at Columbus Academy. This fall she is moving on to a STEM school that focuses on a more aggressive approach to Science and Math. Both she and I are going to miss the teachers and the friends at CA. These past five years have been a delightful incubation for her. She has not just learned the R’s. She has developed into a gracious, cheerful and caring person with an appreciation for the world and people around her. For this, and so much more, we thank the teachers at CA. She will surely remember all of them as I do even now, the teachers of my primary school.
Interestingly, amidst the goodbyes and the good wishes, at least two of the teachers asked for the recipe. Perhaps so they don’t lose the student as well as the trail mix in a single swoop. All the ingredients can be had at Trader Joe’s except the dressing mix and cayenne which are available at Kroger and Giant Eagle.
I think we should drop in one day next year with a jar for the teachers of a large popcorn tin to leave in the faculty lounge?
Trailmix for Teachers and others
Vegetable oil – 2 cups
Ranch Dressing powder – 1 envelope
Cayenne powder – 2 – 3 tbs (to taste)
Oyster Crackers – 1 pkg
Pretzel sticks – 2 cups
Cheerios – 3 cups
Mini Shredded wheat plain – 1 cup
salty banana chips – 1 pkg
corn nuts – 1 pkgs
sweet cereal (honey nut cheerios) – 1 cup
Heat the oil in a large, heavy bottom pan.
Add the dressing mix and cayenne and stir quickly taking care not to burn it
Add the oyster crackers and stir
Add all the other ingredients of your choice and stir till they are all coated with the oil-dressing-cayenne seasoning.
Allow to cool and store in an airtight container
NB: I would normally have added a couple of cups of fresh Virginia peanuts along with the oyster crackers. But CA was a nut-free zone and in deference, we stayed away from nuts.