DIY Trail Mix {Trail Mixology}

DIY Trail Mix {Trail Mixology} | Will Cook For Friends

I am so overwhelmed with excitement right now — the kind of excitement that makes you giddy and happy and a little bit scared all at once — because in less than a week (how is it less than a week away already?!) I am going to be hopping in my car and heading to upstate New York for a food photography workshop put on by two of my favorite bloggers in the history of ever, Carey Nershi of Reclaiming Provincial, and Eva Kosmas Flores of Adventures in Cooking. (If you aren’t familiar with these ladies, you should go check them out. Then you’ll see why I’m so thrilled to have the opportunity to learn from them.)

Despite the back flips I was doing when I first heard about the workshop, making the decision to go wasn’t so easy. This has been a challenging year for The Husband and me, and with everything that’s been going on, we had to cancel our long anticipated vacation plans. The thought of suddenly taking a weekend away, just for myself, felt greedy. Not to mention the cost of travel, after an already expense-heavy year of buying a new camera and hiring out a blog redesign.

We talked about it off and on, and in the back of my head I set it aside as something that wasn’t going to happen. Until one night a couple weeks ago, when he came home from work and told me, “I think you should go. It sounds like an incredible opportunity, and you should take it.”

Back flips, resume.

DIY Trail Mix {Trail Mixology} | Will Cook For Friends

The only challenge left is the ten hour drive that’s awaiting me. This will be the longest distance I’ve ever driven on my own, and going to a place I’ve never been, which is making me a whole lot of nervous. Thank goodness for smart phones and GPS.

Road trips like this call for high protein, high energy fuel. Trail mix is one of my favorite snacks to take on the go, but I’ve never been completely satisfied with the store-bought mixes. They’re always 90% peanuts and raisins, or there’s something in there I don’t really like, or it’s missing something essential… so instead, I prefer to make my own mix. Not only is it exactly what I want, it can also be cost effective if you buy your ingredients in the bulk section. Win!

DIY Trail Mix {Trail Mixology} | Will Cook For Friends

The beauty of something like trail mix is how simple it is. You can make it all raw, or roasted and salted. Lots of dried fruit, or none. Nuts and seeds, or just one or the other. Want to add chunks of chocolate and candied ginger? Nothing’s stopping you. It’s a use-what-you-like free for all, and if you decide your mix is a little light on something once it’s done? Just add more! Remember, you’re the trail mixologist, so there are no rules.

My current favorite mix is a combination of all raw nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans), raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds), raisins, goji berries, coconut flakes, and banana chips. I used to think trail mix had to be roasted and salted to be good, but now I feel just the opposite. I love the nuanced sweetness of the raw nuts, and because there isn’t any salt, I can munch and munch without that crazy moment when you realize how freakin’ thirsty you are.

DIY Trail Mix {Trail Mixology} | Will Cook For Friends

That should get me through the first leg of the journey. Then there’s the mix that’s heavy on the roasted and salted nuts (pistachios are a favorite), pretzels, loads of dried fruit, and chocolate. You know, for when my sweet-and-salty tooth starts acting up. Or my seed-tastic mix, chock full of sunflower seeds, pepitas, hemp seeds, and flax. What can I say, I like to have plenty of variety to choose from.

I find that snacks like this can power me through a car ride almost as well as a big cup of coffee, but with less frequent bathroom stops. (Don’t get me wrong, there will also be coffee. It just won’t be the only thing keeping me going.)

DIY Trail Mix {Trail Mixology} | Will Cook For Friends

While I’m off raiding the bulk section at whole foods, I’d love to know — what’s your favorite trail mix combo? Also, what are your favorite snacks to take on the go? I always carry a couple of protein bars, apples, and baggies of dry cereal for munching, but I’m always on the lookout for ways to mix it up. Ten hours is a long time, and that’s only one way, so I can use all the help I can get!

Oh, and if you want to follow along, keep an eye out on social media next weekend. I’ll try to post frequent updates of my trip, and of course will share more about my experience here on the blog once I get back. Fingers crossed, we can all look forward to better photography around here after this!

Update: you can read all about the photography workshop, and see photos from the trip, here.

DIY Trail Mix {Trail Mixology} | Will Cook For Friends

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6 Responses to DIY Trail Mix {Trail Mixology}

  1. shannon September 28, 2014 at 7:17 am #

    SO EXCITING!!! Oh Willow you’re obviously going to have to tell me all about the experience, and the trip, and all of it: learn so much! Photography workshops are just amazing: soak it all in and just really watch them do what they do and it’ll be incredible. yay! You’ll do great: i know parking and not knowing where you are can really get the freak-outs going (i am the same exact way) but don’t let it get to you: i like to get places exceedingly early because then even if i DO get lost, i have plenty of time, even if i nerd out and just sit in my car for a bit. :) good luck! have a great time!
    and this trail mix: seriously love (to an alarming degree) trail mix, and making your own is always better; there are very few out there that combine all the things i love without including things i don’t love as much, so a “tailored” trail mix is totally the way to go. and bulk sections are so vast these days that you can get almost anything. Love yours! This would be one of my favorites…now i just need a road trip to go with it.

    • Willow Arlen September 30, 2014 at 10:40 am #

      Thanks, Shannon! I will DEFINITELY be sharing as much as I can about the whole thing. Can I tell you something? I’m almost as nervous about the workshop itself as the car ride, because somewhere in the back of my mind I’m afraid I will be too excited to absorb it all as it’s happening. Thankfully I am planning to get there extra early (so, so glad Carey and Eva were okay with me arriving before everything is supposed to begin), so I should have a bit of geek-out time before things get started. *Squee* I’m geeking out already! :P

  2. Shelly @ Vegetarian 'Ventures September 28, 2014 at 7:40 pm #

    OH MY! I am SO excited AND jealous for you! I wanted to attend that workshop so bad when I saw Carey post about it! Have a blast – I hope they continue to collaborate on more workshops in the future!

    • Willow Arlen September 30, 2014 at 10:40 am #

      Oh, man, I wish you could be there! It would be so awesome to meet you in person. And I hope so, too. I can already tell they’re going to make an awesome team. :)

  3. movita beaucoup October 3, 2014 at 9:06 am #

    I love trail mix. I love you. I love you with poison ivy.

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