Remixing Tradition

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It’s my daughter’s third birthday today and we’ve got a party tomorrow with a guest list nearing 90 (she’s having a dual party with her best bud, Julia). And while Noemi was very specific on what type of cupcake she wanted—“chocolate underneath with sparklies on top”—she left the rest of the menu to me. So I thought it a good time to introduce a traditional staple of our family gatherings . . . Chex Mix.

chex-mix-vignetteOnly, me being me, I felt the need to mix it up a bit. First, there are kids in Noe’s class with peanut allergies, so no peanuts or nuts in my revamped mix. Second, I wanted to stay away from artificial preservatives like BHT and TBHQ, which more than a few studies have shown may increase cancer risk, so that means Cheezits and even Chex are out. Third, even though this is simply a snack, I wanted to try and skew it towards something other than just empty calories.

And I think we’ve succeeded ( . . . I write with crumbs on my chest).

For starters, I swapped out the Chex with a mixture of Barbara’s Multigrain Shredded Spoonfuls and Nature’s Path Organic Heritage Heirloom Whole Grain Bites, which was a great combo of slightly sweet and nice and nutty and contributed nearly 5 grams of fiber per serving. Then Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies hopped in for the Cheezits and the pretzels stay put. I updated the spice mix a bit, subbed in healthy Canola oil for some of the butter (don’t try to skimp on the oil or butter . . . we tested a variety of amounts and found that any less fat didn’t completely coat the mixture), and gave it an extra long bake.

Sometimes, to be true to yourself in carrying on tradition you have to mix it up a bit. More on that topic when I write about my take on the Thanksgiving holidays . . . but right now, I’ve got 90 cupcakes to bake.

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Noemi's Remixed Party Mix

Use an extra-large roasting pan for this update on the classic Chex mix recipe, or split the party mix between two smaller ones. The more contact the mix has with the bottom of the pan, the more yummy, crispy, savory crusties there will be.


4 cups Barbara’s Multigrain Shredded Spoonfuls
4 cups Nature’s Path Organic Heritage Heirloom Whole Grain Bites
2 cups mini pretzel twists
2 cups Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies
4 tablespoons butter, melted
3 tablespoons Canola oil
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dried mustard
1/2 teaspoon ground fennel
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

Mix together cereals, pretzels and Cheddar Bunnies in a large roasting pan (or, if splitting it between two smaller roasting pans, a large mixing bowl).

In a small bowl, whisk together butter, oil, spices and salts.

Pour spiced oil mixture over cereal mixture and toss, thoroughly but gently, with your hands until every piece is coated somewhat evenly. Spread mixture evenly in roasting pan(s) and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes, stirring with a spatula every 20 minutes.

Stores for several days in an air-tight container.

Makes 12 cups (24 servings)

  • Bret S. Beall

    Congratulations on a healthier version of Party Mix. Please rethink the Canola, though, as it is almost certainly a genetically modified product, and we don’t know the long-term effects of GMOs. However, each of us must define our own boundaries, so again, congrats!

  • Lia Huber

    Hey Bret . . . thanks! Let me clarify on the Canola though . . . my recommendation is organic expeller-pressed (I use Spectrum Organic Products), which actually has a very healthy fat profile and no GMOs. Definitely want to stay away from GMOs. Thanks for bringing it up! And enjoy the Party Mix . . .

  • Erika Wasielewski

    Oooh, I may have to make this for a Thanksgiving munchie! Happy belated birthday to Noemi. Three is such a fun age, enjoy it!

  • Jacqueline Church

    You know, this would be a great snack to take traveling, too. You can avoid the fatty fried chips and crap. You could add pepitas, maybe soy nuts for some added protein…would that work?

  • Lia Huber

    Erika and Jacqueline . . . both great ideas! It would make a terrific Thanksgiving munchie for both kids and adults. And I can verify first-hand that it’s some seriously good road food. I normally throw some peanuts in, but because of the kiddos with nut allergies I left them out. And I have to say, it was still quite filling. If you try it with other things thrown in, report back in and let us know how it turns out!

  • Nicole Korensky

    Yummy! I was just looking for a fun recipe to make trailmix! Thanks Lia! And HAPPY BIRTHDAY NOE!!! :)