Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Yay, the Holidays are Upon Us!

I actually carved a Jack O'Lantern for the first time, in, oh wow, it's been forever. Naturally I had to follow in my Mom's footsteps and toast the seeds. I had to look up how to do it, it's been even longer since I helped Mom do that. Did you know Jack O'Lanterns are Irish in origin? I didn't.

Then I was trying to find something to do with the wealth of cereal we get from WIC, and it occurred to me in a blinding flash: Chex Party Mix! Once upon a time you couldn't buy that stuff in a bag, you know, you had to actually make it. Growing up we called it Nuts and Bolts.

So I guess holiday baking season is upon us!

Every year I go all out doing holiday baking in different ways. One year when I was in sales I made roughly 120 loaves of various quick breads and gave them to all my accounts. Another year I made about nine varieties of Christmas cookies and gave those out. And one year I even experimented making my own candies. That was fun, but more labor intensive than I can get into this year. The really neat thing is my family really appreciates the love that goes into a hand made gift. Maybe that's why I enjoy doing it.

So as the holidays get closer, watch for my current recipes! This time we'll do Chex Mix, since I just made two batches of it. Much to my surprise, Chex Party Mix has relatively little salt and fat, and since cereal these days is massively fortified, it's a pretty healthy snack.

The Original Chex Party Mix Recipe: I'm not going to republish it, but it's worth noting that the link has nutrition information and microwave directions. This recipe seems to include Bagel Chips. Did they even have Bagel Chips 30 years ago?

Here's my version:

Nuts and Bolts

6 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Table Blend
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3 cups Corn Chex
3 cups Rice Chex
3 cups Cheerios
1 cup stick pretzels
1 cup peanuts

Heat oven to 250 degrees. Melt butter and add seasonings. Pour the butter mixture in a large ungreased roasting pan (bigger is better, since cereal goes everywhere when you try to stir it). Add the remaining ingredients gratually and stir and toss until evenly coated and there's no more butter mix on the bottom of the pan.

Bake 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Spread on paper towels to cool, about 15 minutes. Store in an airtight container.

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